Forty years ago, people didn’t think about plastic pollution in the ocean. Fast forward to today, and it’s everywhere – in the bodies of dead whales and seabirds who wash up on the beach, and even in the deepest parts of the ocean – near the Mariana Trench at 36,000 feet below sea level.
A large concentration of ocean trash is caught in gyres (also referred to as vortices, or whirlpools), which are produced from ocean currents. There’s chemical sludge and other manmade debris in these gyres, and a very large proportion of the pollution is plastic.
One such gyre is in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. It’s known as the Pacific Gyre or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it’s larger than the state of Texas.
This video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is:
According to National Geographic and a study published in Nature, in 2018, there were about 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the Pacific Garbage Patch. This was 4-16 times larger than what was previously estimated, and the Patch was continuing to expand.
Much of the plastic pollution in the Pacific Gyre is microplastics – pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters in length. There are roughly 1.8 trillion pieces of microplastic in the Pacific Gyre.
Discarded fishing nets and gear comprise 46% of the 79,000 metric tons of plastic pollution in the Pacific Garbage Patch.
It’s estimated that the plastic pollution in the Pacific Gyre weighs about 79,000 metric tons (or 79,000,000 kgs) and microplastics make up about 8 percent of that weight. Scientists estimate that 20 percent of the debris is from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. And 46 percent is from commercial fishing nets and fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets.
Laurent Lebreton, an oceanographer with The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that’s developing advanced technologies to reduce ocean plastic, and the lead author of the study in Nature, said “I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high. Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally – 20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land.”
Scientist Use Drones and GPS Trackers to Find the Ghost Nets
But thanks to scientists and activists from another nonprofit – Ocean Voyages Institute – as of June 18, 2019, about 40 fewer tons of fishing nets and other plastic pollution are in the Pacific Gyre.
During a 25-day ocean cleanup mission on the sailing cargo ship S/V KWAI, the Ocean Voyages (OV) team removed a whopping 40 tons of plastic pollution from the Pacific Gyre.
Here’s a video from GC Hustle Hawaii with some of the crew of the S/V KWAI before they set sail on the cleanup mission:
One of the team’s prime targets in the cleanup was discarded fishing nets, or ghost nets, which are made with nylon or polypropylene and can weigh in the tens of thousands of pounds. According to the United Nations, about 380,000 marine mammals are killed every year by either ingesting plastic pollution or by getting caught in these nets.
How did the OV team and KWAI crew successfully remove that much debris from the ocean? GPS tracking was a big part of the effort. During the year prior to the cleanup mission, OV recruited yachts and ships to attach GPS satellite trackers to any ghost nets they encountered in the ocean.
The size of bowling balls, the GPS trackers would signal the location of the drifting ghost nets in real-time. The OV team also enlisted the help of expert drone operators to conduct flying survey patterns off of both the KWAI and the OV Institute’s plastic survey vessel, AVEIA, to find more debris. Often, the areas where the team found the nets were concentrated with other heavy debris, so they were able to retrieve additional nets and even more trash.
“Satellite technology played a key role in our recovery effort, offering an innovative solution to finding areas of dense plastic pollution,” said Mary Crowley, the founder and executive director of the OV Institute. “The nets and other debris are signs of the proliferating plastic pollution that poses threats to marine life, coastal environments, shipping, fisheries, wildlife, and our health.”
Crowley is a lifelong sailor. In 2009, she launched her first 30-day research expedition and other cleanup missions occurred after that, each one increasing in scale.
“It is very disturbing to be sailing through what was only decades ago a pristine ocean wilderness and find it filled with our all-too-familiar garbage,” says Crowley. “Urgent action is needed at all levels: curtailing the manufacture of throwaway plastics, preventing plastic trash from entering the oceans, and enlisting the public, corporations, and the maritime industry in education, prevention, innovation, and massive cleanup efforts. The question is, are we ready to make it a priority to protect 72 percent of the planet?”
Crowley and the OV team are now planning an even larger ocean cleanup expedition. But they’ll need more reusable GPS trackers to do so, and each costs about $1,600.
“It’s our goal to have about 150 of them to hand out this year,” said Crowley. “Our plan is to duplicate this very successful mission next year for a three-month period.”
In the summer of 2004, wildlife biologist Rich Mason received a phone call from a distraught friend because dozens of frogs were dying in the family’s swimming pool. They had tried saving the frogs with their debris net, but still many died. Rich talked with other friends who had pools and they were having the same experience. Not only were frogs dying in their pools, but friends also found mice, baby birds, moles, squirrels, bats, chipmunks, opossums, turtles, toads, and salamanders.
Just as it’s dangerous for a toddler to be near a pool unattended, with the animals, whether they were intentionally trying to get into the water or they fell in, too many were finding it impossible to get out.
When frogs, chipmunks, salamanders, or other animals enter a pool, they instinctually swim towards the pool wall to escape. According to Rich, the animals will circle around the edge of the pool trying to find a way out. Inevitably, they will overexert themselves trying to get out. This can cause them to drown or get sucked into the pool skimmer basket. And for frogs, toads, and salamanders – the chlorine in the pool can be deadly if they remain in the pool for too long because they have very permeable skin and thus the toxic chlorine can enter their bloodstream.
Finding a Solution to Save Animals from Pools
As a wildlife biologist, Rich was troubled by this and set out to find a solution. Other products were on the market, but they had too many shortcomings. So, Rich gathered materials, including foam, fabric, and mesh, plus a sewing machine, and he began to iterate on a design for a device that would help animals get out of a swimming pool safely. The ultimate design would enable any small animal to get on to an easy-access safety ledge and then have a bridge to safely get out of the pool.
When Rich finally came up with a working prototype, he tested it out. As a scientist, he wanted to ensure with a high degree of certainty that the device would be effective. So, he set up a funnel trap on top of the device that would temporarily capture the animals that used the device to escape the pool.
Over a period of 23 days, the early prototype of what would become the FrogLog helped save 47 American toads and three green frogs. Unfortunately, two dead American toads were found in the pool skimmer basket. Yet based on these results, Rich’s test showed the device to be 94% effective at allowing trapped amphibians to climb out of the swimming pool.
Here’s a video of frogs using the FrogLog:
Rich tested the FrogLog in other swimming pools. One user said she had not found any dead frogs or other small animals since she installed it in her pool earlier that summer. Before using the FrogLog, about six frogs would die in her pool every week. She also said that far fewer crickets were found in her pool. Another user noted that the combination of having the FrogLog installed and turning the electric pool skimmer off at night and helped to save more animals.
Here’s a video of ducklings using the FrogLog:
These are the types of animals who have used the FrogLog:
Frogs, toads, salamanders, bees, chipmunks, bats, small rabbits, squirrels, ducklings, birds, mice, small hedgehogs, lizards, snakes, small turtles, and geckos.
Rich’s mission with the FrogLog was to save as many small animals as possible while helping pool owners enjoy their pools to the fullest.
A trailblazer in how to run an ecologically conscious company, Patagonia has just committed to even stronger environmental-protection initiatives. The company has vowed to be carbon neutral by the year 2025, they wrote on their website.
Patagonia plans to do this through a four-part process, which they explain on their website:
Measure Our Impact. A third-party validated system is in place to measure our impacts so we can make informed decisions and track our progress.
Reduce Our Impact. Avoid the need for energy where we can, improve efficiency where we can’t.
Convert to Renewable Energy. Move away from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable energy sources for everything we do.
Capture Carbon. Invest and test ways to remove warming gases from the atmosphere (i.e. carbon insetting sequestration programs). Think of these efforts as the difference between stopping the mess and cleaning it up.
To become carbon neutral, Patagonia will double down on sustainability throughout their supply chain because, as the company’s CEO Rose Marcario said in the trade publication Retail Drive, “that’s where all the issues are.”
“We’ve done a lot on building those supply chains and I think we all have to come to the reality that we are not going to have virgin supply chains forever because we are running out of resources,” said Marcario. “And as much as we don’t want to face that or be in denial about it, it’s true. So, you have to be innovating.”
Patagonia sources the most eco-friendly materials they can find or produce, including:
They also work with their supply chain partners to continually innovate on the materials front, such as recycling materials that are not traditionally recycled. The sunglasses that Patagonia sells, by Bureo, are made with recycled fishing nets – a major source of ocean pollution. Patagonia is also funding research to develop materials that are biobased, biodegradable, and even carbon-reduction positive.
Wearing used Patagonia clothing lowers the CO2, waste, and water footprint by 20-30%.
Patagonia’s used clothing program, Worn Wear®, is also right in line with their carbon reduction efforts. It turns out that extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months of active use can reduce carbon, waste, and water footprints by around 20-30%. This is one reason the company focuses so much on creating durable, high-quality products.
In addition to the products and materials themselves, Patagonia’s operations are moving towards being carbon neutral. The company has 75 retail stores around the world, as well as seven regional headquarters and two distribution centers. They’ve always prioritized using existing vs. new buildings for their locations to keep their environmental footprint as low as possible. In addition, they have a set of sustainable building principles that include using energy efficiency technologies, renewable energy, and reclaimed materials.
Read more about Patagonia’s initiatives to fight climate change at Patagonia.com.
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has just auctioned off his extensive guitar collection, comprised of 126 instruments, for $21,490,750, reports CNN. This is the most comprehensive collection of guitars ever sold at auction, according to the auction house Christie’s. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the nonprofit ClientEarth.
ClientEarth is a nonprofit that “uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it,” says on the organization’s website. “We are lawyers and environmental experts who are fighting against climate change and to protect nature and the environment.”
On Twitter, David said he decided to direct the proceeds from the auction to fight climate change because “the global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible.”
Here’s David talking about what inspired him to auction his guitar collection:
ClientEarth’s CEO, James Thornton, said of the monumental donation, “This is a truly humbling and extraordinary gift, which goes beyond our wildest expectations. It’s difficult to express just how deeply grateful we are to David for choosing ClientEarth as the beneficiary of this historic auction.”
As the global population surges and the Earth gets even more crowded with human beings, it can be hard to be us. And, it’s even harder to be a wild animal. Heck, it’s even hard to be an insect or a plant these days because of what we humans are doing to natural habitats.
We need to get busy. We need to curb our population growth. We need to lower our CO2 emissions. We need to preserve the last remaining wild habitats for our fellow Earthlings – the living creatures with whom we share this planet. Essentially, we need to help each other thrive.
Some solutions to these challenges are complicated – like how to enlighten and motivate people who prefer to live in apathetic denial. But other solutions are as simple as putting a seed in some soil. And maybe that’s how we solve the more complex problems too, as all groundswells start with a little seed of a thought.
It turns out that people from Brooklyn to Beijing and in between are sharing the same seed of a thought – and that’s to plant rooftop gardens. This makes total sense because roof gardens do a lot of good. They:
Give people access to nature where they otherwise would have none.
Provide safe landing places for birds and insects who are just trying to survive in the concrete jungle.
Help to fight climate change by turning large areas that would normally be absorbing solar radiation into green spaces that absorb CO2.
Here’s a collection of roof gardens to inspire you to support urban gardening in your own community.
In this video, published by Exploring Alternatives, students at Ryerson University in Toronto turned the roof of a campus building into a food-growing farm. Their thriving rooftop farm already produces over 10,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, which they sell at the local farmers’ market.
Corey Brill, the actor who plays Pete Anderson on The Walking Dead, is also a beekeeper. Keeping bees has been a long time passion, but doing it in LA presented some unique challenges. In this video, presented by Flow Hive, Corey talks about how he does it.
In this video, gardening media company Epic Gardening traveled to Barcelona to visit an urban gardening and ecological design company called Eix Verd, or Green Path.
Urban Gardener, a program presented by Spaces TV, is a video series that explores green spaces in city environments. In this episode, they visit a roof deck in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
In an effort to fight rising temperatures, China offers government subsidies to people who build roof gardens on public buildings. Green spaces on rooftops help to reduce the heat from the sun’s rays while absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. Local residents are also getting in on the action, putting rooftop gardens on the buildings they live in. This video from China Icons talks about China’s Green Roof Revolution.
This video, from RunmanReCords, displays a variety beautiful rooftop garden ideas.
More Beautiful Roof Gardens Around the World
This image is a design for what will be London’s highest rooftop green space – a park on top of buildings that will be located next to Battersea Power Station. The buildings should be completed by mid-2021, reports the Evening Standard.
The green space will have sun decks, fitness areas, and a place to watch outdoor movies.
To date, all of London’s rooftop green spaces cover nearly 400 acres, an area larger than Hyde Park.
adidas, the world’s largest sportwear brand, has vowed to phase out all virgin plastic used in their shoes and sportswear in the next six years, reports the Financial Times.
“Our goal is to get rid of virgin polyester overall by 2024,” said Eric Liedtke, head of adidas’ global brands.
In 2017, adidas sold 1 million pairs of its Parley shoe, which was the first mass-produced running shoe made from recycled plastic water bottles. Fast forward to 2019, and adidas plans to sell 11 million pairs of recycled shoes this year.
While 11 million pairs of shoes seems like a huge number, it represents just 3 percent of adidas’ annual footwear production.
Recycled polyester (often made from recycled plastic bottles) is 10-20 percent more expensive than virgin polyester to produce. But industry experts say that price differential will be reduced as businesses make the shift to buying recycled materials in larger quantities.
“Prices will come down as we develop more capacity to collect, clean, and process used plastics,” said Brenda Haitema, head of supply chain operations for Thread International, which makes the recycled fabric that’s used by brands including Marmot, Timberland, and Reebok (a subsidiary of adidas.)
Other well-known brands that use recycled materials include Patagonia and Stella McCartney. In McCartney’s case, she has vowed to stop using virgin nylon by 2020.
Vegan footwear company Native Shoes has created a groundbreaking 100% biodegradable and sustainable plantbased shoe. This shoe is compostable!Here’s what it’s made of:
Pineapple husks are generally discarded when the pineapples are harvested. But they can actually be turned into a sustainable and durable textile. You’ve probably heard of Piñatex, the pineapple leather developed by entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa. I feature products made with Piñatex in a number of posts on UniGuide, including vegan tote bags, laptop sleeves, and handbags.
Derived from the flax plant, linen is another natural and sustainable fiber that has been used by humans for thousands of years. It’s super strong and microbe-resistant like hemp is. The sock liners in Native’s eco-friendly plant shoes are made with linen, so they’re soft, comfortable, breathable, and odor-resistant.
Kenaf is another strong natural fiber that requires no chemical intervention when processed to make garments (unlike, say, bamboo rayon, which undergoes heavy processing to be converted into soft bamboo fabric.) Kenaf originates in Africa.
Kenaf is used in the Native Plant Shoe footbed.
Eucalyptus pulp is used in the construction of the Strobel board of the Plant Shoe, which provides a pliable but strong base for the shoe that also helps to wick moisture. The eucalyptus is baled and compressed using a closed loop technique. Thus, it’s processed with a very minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Lactae hevea is a pure substance that comes from the hevea tree. It’s processed to make a completely natural latex that is used for the outsoles of the shoes. The natural rubber-like material is free of petrochemicals or additives.
Organic cotton is used to make the uppers of the shoes as well as the laces.
Native’s goal is to have all of their products be cradle-to-cradle sustainable by the year 2023.
Whether it’s for work, out of town adventures, or just running errands around town, a vegan tote bag is a must-have necessity for all of us animal lovers. And there’s such a great selection now that even the carnivores have started to circle around the vegan tote bag Smorgasbord. Seriously, how many of us have found a great tote bag only to realize the handles were made with leather? No more!
This vegan tote bag post is important to me because, well, I’m a tote bag super user. I can fully vouch for their efficacy! I’m always striving to lessen my materialism, but I have to admit I’m the kind of woman who could survive just fine on Gilligan’s Island or a Navy Seal mission as long as I have my tote! There’s enough stuff in there to keep a person alive and well groomed for many months.
But even if you’re a zero waste minimalist, tote bags come in handy for carrying things like your reusable water bottle or coffee thermos, your yoga mat, and of course, fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market. But, you came to this post most likely because you’re looking for a great cruelty-free tote, so I’ll stop advocating and get down to it!
MATT & NAT has become a leader in luxury, cruelty-free accessories. Everything they produce is 100% vegan. The company’s name is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And MATT & NAT weaves this philosophy into their products. Whenever possible, they use natural, plantbased, and recycled materials in their designs.
Good Mood Moon is another brand that makes 100% accessories, including their super cute tote bags. Animal lovers to the core, Good Mood Moon donates 5% of their sales to homeless pet organizations. You can see more of Good Mood Moon’s bags in my post about vegan handbags.
Available in multiple fun colors, including red, turquoise, lavender, and more.
If you’re looking for a vegan tote bag that’s also environmentally sustainable, check out Maravillas. The company’s vegan totes are made with eco-friendly Piñatex Pineapple Leather, which is made from pineapple leaves. All of Maravillas’ accessories are handmade in their workshop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (The company does create some accessories with leather, so be sure to read the product details.)
Maniwala is a socially conscious brand that makes all of their stylish accessories in the USA. They’re a PETA Approved and they also fun a completely plastic-free operation. This sustainable and vegan tote bag is made with eco-friendly Piñatex and it has a hemp lining. It’s big enough to hold a 13” laptop, plus it has exterior straps that will hold your yoga mat or beach towel.
Another PETA Approved, 100% vegan brand, Melie Bianco produces their socially conscious tote bags and other accessories in Fair Trade conditions.
This tote is made with polyurethane (PU) vegan leather, which uses fewer solvents and toxic chemicals than PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which a type of plastic that’s used to make a cheaper faux leather. PU is more eco-friendly than traditional leather because it uses fewer resources to produce than leather derived from animals.
You can see more of Melie Bianco’s bags, including vegan shoulder bags, in my post about vegan purses.
LaBante London is an all-vegan brand that donates 10% of their profits to charitable causes. LaBante’s founder, Vanita Badlani Bagri, experienced a life-changing moment when she was in college. She would pass a butcher’s shop on her way to school. In the shop, animals were kept alive in cages before they would be killed in front of customers and sold for their meat.
This was a transformative experience for Vanita. At that time, she didn’t imagine that she would become a vegan accessories designer. But heart wrenching experience shaped her world view.
In addition to being vegan, LaBante’s tote bags and other accessories are eco-friendly. While the material looks and feels like leather, it’s actually made with recycled plastic bottles.
Sugandh Agrawal worked as an industrial designer for KitchenAid before making the leap to start her own business. That business became Gunas, a 100% vegan fashion and accessories brand. Gunas offers a variety totes in vegan leather in irresistible colors.
You have to love a brand that has a manifesto on their website. Gunas brand manifesto that could have easily been written for UniGuide. Here it is:
We are committed to being a 100% vegan brand.
We believe that animals are not a “property” of humans.
We are against the human nature of bullying and domination of other species.
We stand up to the culture of violence and suffering that we inherited against our will.
Justice, empathy, and compassion are our core values.
We envision a world of peace, love, and kindness that starts with each one of us.
We advocate conscious consumerism over fast fashion.
We make “victim-free” fashion full of love for all.
We will not participate in any kind of exploitation, be it towards our planet, people, or animals.
Minimalist designer Linda Wong created Canopy Verde after working in the fashion industry and witnessing the amount of waste that’s generated season after season. Canopy Verde tote bags are made in a production process that minimizes waste and reuses materials whenever possible.
Made with PU vegan leather, these tote bags have a lighter carbon footprint than those made with traditional leather. In addition, Canopy Verde’s bags are lined with GOTS certified organic cotton that’s dyed with eco-friendly, chemical-free dyes.
MeDusa founders Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal named their company based on a combination of the infamous Greek deity Medusa and the Hebrew word for “jellyfish.” The two designers were inspired by the power of Medusa and the beautiful colors and patterns found in sea life. Blending vintage shapes with modern textiles, MeDusa’s tote bags and other accessories are truly unique. All of MeDusa’s accessories are 100% vegan.
Pixie Mood’s motto is: “There’s always room for fashion with compassion!” I couldn’t agree more. A socially conscious brand, Pixie Mood donates a portion of their sales to nonprofits, including PETA and Progress Place Mental Wellness.
See more vegan bags by Pixie Mood in my post about vegan purses.
If you’re looking for an affordable vegan tote bag, check out Sole Society. They offer a variety of totes in different colors, shapes, and sizes, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect bag for your needs.
If you love the look and feel of suede or distressed leather, but insist on cruelty-free style, check out Red Maus’ minimalist vegan tote bags. They come in a variety of luscious colors, like ruby red, purple, and mustard, and they’re all animal-friendly.
One of the crown goddesses of vegan fashion, Stella McCartney has some stunning totes that worth checking out. Perfect for the gym or a weekend away with your sweetheart, these totes are high-quality and super versatile.
If you haven’t been to REI’s website lately, it’s worth a visit! They offer a variety of vegan and eco-friendly accessories and it’s even easy to search for “vegan” stuff on their site and get real vegan results!
This cute beach tote has a zipper closure and it’s made with a splash-proof material, making it great for sea-faring trips or sessions at the gym.
It has a small outside zip pocket, which is perfect for your keys and phone, plus, a hidden zipper pocket on the inside.
And it gets better: The maker of this tote, Aloha, donates 5% of profits to conservation initiatives in Hawaii.
This super functional vegan tote bag is splash-proof, making it great for beach days, rainy days, or boating trips. The material it’s made with is RFID-blocking fabric, which helps to keep your electronic valuables safe from identity and data theft.
This bag has two compartments inside that lets you keep wet and dry items apart, as well as a passport pocket. Plus, it has a detachable shoulder strap and handy key and wallet clips on the outside.
This functional vegan tote can be converted into a backpack, making it a great travel tote. It’s made with a water repellent coating on the outside and a waterproof polyurethane coating on the back of bag to keep your belongings dry, no matter the conditions.
This tote is equipped with an RFID-protected pocket to protect your cell phone data. And multiple zipper pockets help to keep your belongings organized and secure. In addition, this vegan bag is made with recycled materials.
A socially conscious brand that hails from Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask supports a number of initiatives to get people outside and into nature. They’ve provided grants to support programs such as the National Parks Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids, The Trust for Public Land’s Woonasquatucket River Adventure Park, and the City Parks Foundation’s Partnerships for Parks.
This must-have tote bag is cooler tote that will keep contents ice-cold for up to 48 hours.
While this bag is waterproof, the liner is FDA food-grade and BPA-free. A cooler bag is great to keep in your car for those times you’re out running errands after the grocery store and want to keep your perishables cold.
You know where else you can find great vegan tote bags? On eBay and in Etsy’s vintage collection! I’m a big advocate for buying used goods and you can find some truly unique totes in thrift shops and online vintage sites.
The future is here. It used to be hard to find vegan hiking boots and hiking shoes. Just a few select brands made them. But the world is truly changing because even brands like adidas and Merrell, which used to almost exclusively make leather shoes, have expanded to include more vegan-friendly synthetics in their lineups. As new innovations in materials take root, product makers will stop exploiting animals for their skin. And the new synthetics are more durable, breathable, and waterproof than leather. Here are the top-rated vegan hiking boots and hiking shoes from the best brands in the industry.
1. Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Vegan Hiking Boots
Women’s Hailing from the Coast Mountains region of western Canada, Arc’teryx makes rugged outdoor apparel that will put you in good stead for wherever your adventures take you. Arc’teryx measures the carbon footprint of all of their products and hopes to eventually move all of them to cradle-to-cradle design.
The goal of cradle-to-cradle product design, also called regenerative design, is to create products that are essentially zero-waste. When they’ve outlived their use, all parts can be recycled into new products or will biodegrade naturally instead of sitting in land-fill. While Arc’teryx is not there yet with their products, it’s reassuring to see footwear companies that actually care about the entire lifecycle of their products, as far too many do not.
The Arc’teryx Bora hiking boot is an elegant blend of an approach shoe and a stable mountaineering boot. These are serious hiking boots, not for the fluffy stuff.
The upper is made with vegan-friendly synthetic textile. And the outsoles are made with 14 mm Vibram lug sole rubber that offers plenty of stability, traction, and grip. Plus, the heel is designed for quick braking. A removable, stretchable Gore-Tex bootie liner keeps debris out of your boot while wicking moisture. There’s also a removable Ortholite footbed that’s breathable and provides ample cushioning and arch support.
This boot is perfect for multi-day backpacking trips or serious day hikes.
The Arc’teryx Acrux Approach hiking shoe, made with vegan-friendly synthetic materials, is lightweight and flexible. This shoe is perfect for day hikes or technical approaches on a variety of terrains. Like its boot counterpart, the Acrux Approach shoe has a lightweight, quick-drying bootie inside. It also has a breathable Ortholite footbed that provides added comfort and solid arch support.
A socially- and environmentally-conscious footwear company, Astral was started in 2002 by farmer/entrepreneur Philip Curry. After he sold his first outdoor gear company to Patagonia in 1999, he did some traveling and then became a full-time biodynamic farmer.
Biodynamic farming is both a method and a philosophical approach to farming that views the entire farm an integrated and whole living organism. An aspect to this holistic approach to farming incorporates the spirit of the farm, with an understanding that there is metaphysical energy in the farm.
With his experience managing the farm, Philip again thought of the outdoor gear industry. He considered how he might create products that let wilderness athletes experience the great outdoors in a holistic way, which meant having a minimal environmental impact.
Astral shoes are designed and made with these considerations in mind. Philip set out to create beautifully designed footwear and other gear in the least toxic way possible. As a result, Astral has eliminated PVC foam from their supply chain, uses recycled polyester in their materials, and creates only 100% vegan shoes.
Astral’s Merge Minimalist hiking boots are one such example. Made with vegan-friendly breathable, quick-drying canvas, these boots are versatile enough for multi-season backpacking trips or kayaking expeditions.
The soles of these boots are made with “ultra-grippy” high-friction rubber that has 5 mm lugs and flex grooves. There’s also an EVA foam midsole and a heel designed for stability and comfort.
Astral’s lightweight vegan hiking shoes are designed for mixed terrain as well as walking on river and lake beds. They dry quickly and their heavy-duty 5 mm lug soles provide extra grip on both rugged and slippery surfaces.
The uppers of these hiking shoes are made with recycled polyester hydrophobic canvas that drains water. And the insoles are treated with Polygiene, a material that’s interwoven into the fabric and which has antimicrobial properties that prevent odors. Both bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® approved, Polygiene meets strict environmental and product life cycle standards.
Astral’s eco-friendly and vegan hiking shoes are perfect for kayaking and canoeing trips as well as day hikes on mixed terrain.
To see more cool shoes by Astral, check out my post on hemp shoes.
Headquartered at the base of the Dolomites, La Sportiva has been making technical outdoor gear for nearly a century. La Sportiva’s goal it so create products “that let you go where you dream to go, do what you dream to do, and live how you want to live.” And their wide selection of vegan hiking boots and shoes do not disappoint.
La Sportiva owns and operates their own state-of-the-art factory in the small mountain village of Ziano di Fiemme, Italy, where their footwear is made the traditional way – by hand.
The award-winning Trango Cube GTX is a technically advanced mountaineering boot that’s made for rough terrain, including snow and ice. Waterproof and rugged, these boots are still lightweight and designed for extended use. A 100% vegan hiking boot, the Trango has no animal by products in the materials or adhesives.
The vegan-friendly Stream GTX hiking boot is made with breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex. With a snug fit, these hiking boots offer both comfort and stability. The Vibram soles provide traction and grip and has a built-in braking design. These boots are great for hikes in wet conditions or sunny days on rough terrain.
La Sportiva’s Blade GTX hiking boot is for the outdoor enthusiast who wants it all. Called “multi-sport boot,” the Blade GTX is designed for day trekking or mountain trail running. Plus, it’s waterproof. With its roomy toe box and lacing harness, the Blade is super comfortable yet provides plenty of stability on rocky, snowy, or muddy trails.
8. La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX Vegan Hiking Shoe
If you love to move fast on rugged terrain, then the Synthesis Mid GTX may be the perfect vegan hiking shoe for you. Made with Gore-Tex, it’s breathable and waterproof while still being super lightweight. So, all your energy can be put into moving forward instead of lifting your feet!
These hiking shoes have a Vibram Nano sole with a built-in braking system, so you get traction and stability on steep descents. With a unified midsole and upper, these shoes provide extra ankle support and stability. Plus, they have a bungee pull cord lacing system to get the perfect fit.
These shoes are great for long day hikes in any kind of weather.
With 360-degree breathability, La Sportiva’s Spire GTX low-cut hiking shoe is perfect for hiking or light-weight backpacking. Made with Gore-Tex, it’s waterproof, making it great for varied weather conditions, like hiking in the Rocky Mountains or wherever your adventures take you.
The Primer Low GTX vegan hiking shoe is La Sportiva’s running shoe-style model. It’s an ultra-lightweight trail shoe that lets you move fast on all kinds of terrain while minimizing fatigue. Made with Gore-Tex, it’s waterproof and breathable, making it perfect for the backcountry trail runner or hiker.
Traditionally a running shoe company, Altra is known for their “FootShape” toe box, which allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally as you move, whether ascending steep terrain or running downhill. Altra has brought this technology to their Lone Peak vegan hiking boots, creating a lightweight boot that’s comfortable for running, hiking, and even snowshoeing.
With a breathable, 100% waterproof upper and a durable rubber outsole, these boots are great on the trail, whether it’s hot and sunny or cold and snowy.
Altra’s vegan-friendly Lone Peak hiking shoe is their original trail shoe but with some innovative updates. They’ve made the upper more breathable and at the same time more durable and stable. A webbing cinch strap at midfoot provides extra stability, and multi-directional, carved lugs have been added for increased traction on the trail. The all-new Lone Peak hiking shoe is also lighter weight than its predecessor.
The wide toe box lets your toes spread out naturally and your feet relax on the trail, whether you’re ascending a steep ridge or on the descent.
Merrell’s vegan-friendly Moab Mid GTX hiking boot has a faux leather and mesh combo upper. Plus, there’s a Gore-Tex membrane that’s waterproof while providing excellent breathability. The Vibram soles have 5 mm lugs, and Merrell’s proprietary EVA-contoured footbed offers superb arch and heel support. These vegan hiking boots are great for lightweight backpacking and hiking on mixed terrain.
14. Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe
For those times you want to move fast on the trail, there’s Merrell’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport vegan hiking shoe. It has a ventilated mesh upper that’s ideal for hot days or running across streams. These trail shoes have a Vibram outsole with 5 mm lugs and there’s a molded TPU heel bed that provides extra stability. Even better, the omni lacing system makes it easy to get the perfect fit.
innov-8 designs their footwear and outdoor gear with athletes in mind. Founded in 2003, they’re a newer player on the scene, but their recent acquisition by Descente, an 80-year old Japanese sportswear maker, has added a new level of expertise and craftsmanship to their lineup.
The Roclite 335 vegan hiking boot is lightweight, yet has 6 mm rubber cleat-like lugs, making this boot great on snow and ice. A mid-height shaft provides plenty of ankle support without sacrificing flexibility.
Founded in Germany in 1935, Salewa started as a leather saddle company. Later, they made soccer balls, motorcycle bags, and backpacks. The backpacks led to creating technical mountaineering gear and collaborations with famous mountain climbers Reinhold Messner and Kurt Albert. A far cry from their leather saddles, Salewa now includes a vegan hiking shoe in the lineup – the Salewa Wildfire GTX.
The Wildfire GTX is designed to provide optimal control on mountainsides and steep terrain. Salewa’s climbing “Switchfit” lacing system extends from the toes to the base of the ankle to ensure a precise yet adjustable fit. You get a snug fit for controlled ascents, and then you can loosen the lacing via a rear eyelet on the descent. And a Gore-Tex upper allows for waterproof breathability.
The ultimate go-barefoot footwear company, Vivobarefoot now makes a vegan hiking bootie for those high-risk times that you might stub a toe. A minimalist hiking boot, the vegan hiker is lightweight and breathable, but still offers some thermal protection. The rubber outsole offers grip on slippery slopes, making this the perfect boot for when you’d rather go barefoot, but probably shouldn’t!
Vivobarefoot’s Magna Trail vegan hiking shoe is designed for high-performance running and hiking on mixed terrain. Equipped with a removable 3.5 mm Outlast™ thermal insole, the Magna Trail offers three-times the thermal protection of other insoles. This is a great hiking shoe for those times you want to be super light on your feet.
For an even lighter hiking shoe, check out Vivobarefoot’s vegan Primus Trail Shoe. With a toe guard and 7 mm lug rubber soles, your feet are protected yet you have ultimate flexibility as you bound over mixed terrain.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix, Xero Shoes are designed for easy, natural movement. Steven is Masters All-American sprinter and one of the fastest men over the age of 50 in the U.S. And Lena is an avid hiker with the business smarts to take the couple’s footwear visions from dream to reality.
The vegan Xero DayLite Hiker is designed to let your foot bend, flex, and “feel the world” beneath your feet. As the names implies, this bootie is ideal for day hikes. One of the things that makes these animal-friendly hiking booties unique is the huarache-inspired heel strap, which provides stability and a perfect fit. And if you want even more of a barefoot feeling, you can remove the sock liner insole.
Another comfortable, lightweight hike from Xero Shoes, the TeraFlex vegan hiking shoe blends natural barefoot comfort with performance. The 6 mm rubber soles have 4 mm lugs for ample traction, whether you’re running uphill or downhill in dry or wet conditions.
XPETI’s Thermator vegan hiking boot is designed to keep your feet warm and dry in snowy, wet conditions. With a waterproof upper and 200-gram Thinsulate insulation, these boots are rated for -30℃ temperatures. A rubber toe cap, molded TPU heel case, and rubber outsole offer plenty of protection and traction on rocks and other rough terrain. Plus, there’s a cushioned EVA midsole that provides comfort and enhanced stability.
The Dimo Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot offers many of the stability and comfort features of the Thermator, but in a lighter weight package that’s ideal for warmer temperatures.
These vegan hiking boots have a waterproof mesh upper plus a rubber toe cap and outsole for protection and grip. In addition, they have a molded TPU ankle support system and a moisture-wicking mesh lining. An EVA midsole provides ample cushioning, making these a great pair of boots for day hikes or backpacking.
Xpeti’s Oslo is the perfect hiking boot for the snow. With a “one-pull” lacing system, it’s easy to get these boots on and off. Like Xpeti’s other boots, the Oslo has a rubber toe cap to protect your feet. With faux fur inside, these boots have a sub-30-degree Celsius rating in addition to being waterproof.
Designed for moving fast in the mountains, adidas’ Terrex Swift booties bring the athletic shoe into the hiking boot. These boots are lightweight and breathable with an abrasion-resistant ripstop Gore-Tex upper. They’ve also got an EVA midsole for extra comfort when you’re bounding over the trails.
For a super lightweight and flexible hiking bootie, you can’t go wrong with adidas’ Terrex Free Hiker. Offering exceptional comfort with its stretch, sock-like construction, the Terrex is designed for fast action on the trails.
If you love the flexibility of hiking shoes over boots, check out adidas’ vegan-friendly Outdoor AX2R Hiking Shoe. With a breathable Gore-Tex membrane, it’s great for all kinds of weather. EVA cushioning and adiprene, adidas’ proprietary insole material, provide extra cushioning and support. This is a lightweight hiking shoe that’s designed for day hikes and multifunctional use. These hiking shoes come in a variety of fun color combos.
A 100% vegan footwear brand, Native uses a low-emission manufacturing process in the production of their shoes and boots. Plus, they use materials that are free of BPA, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other hazardous chemicals.
Native’s Fitzsimmons Treklite Hiking Boots are made for traveling, trekking, or just bumming around town. They’re lightweight and water-resistant. Lined with soft microfleece and an EVA midsole, these boots are as comfy as they are cruelty-free.
Hailing from Stoney Creek, Canada, Baffin has been making footwear and outdoor apparel since 1979. Baffin’s vegan hiking boots have a breathable, synthetic waterproof textile upper and they’re rated for sub-20°Celsius temperatures. This is a versatile boot that’s comfortable and lightweight but offers plenty of ankle support for rugged day hikes or backcountry backpacking trips.
Did you know that the first pair of clogs ever worn were plant-based and vegan? In all likelihood, they were carved out of wood, so there you go! It’s hard to find ancient wooden clogs in archeological digs because old wooden shoes would have likely been used as firewood or simply decomposed over time. But an ancient pair was discovered in the Netherlands. They’re the oldest pair of wooden shoes ever found, dating back to the 13th century.
Today, you have to search a bit to find vegan clogs and slip-on shoes simply because so many styles are made with leather or suede. So, to make your search a little easier, here are some of the best options for vegan clogs and slip-on shoes that I found.
While most Birkenstocks are made with leather, in recent years they’ve stepped things up by offering a few vegan options. These Birkenstock clogs are made with polyurethane and they’re actually dishwasher safe (once you remove the insole.) They’ve got anti-slip soles and the heel measure 1.5”. The platform is a quarter of an inch. These are great working clogs or comfy for bumming around the house or garden. And if you need extra cushioning, I’m a big fan of Sof Sole insoles.
Birkenstock also makes vegan versions of their popular slide sandals. I know the world is changing when I find shoes that were traditionally always made with leather suddenly come out with their vegan line. And like the iconic punk brand Dr. Martens did with their line of vegan combat boots for men and women, so the iconic hippie brand did with their sandals – yes, can now own a pair of vegan Birkenstocks.
Here’s another Birkenstock-inspired slip-on sandal that will have people asking you where you got your cool shoes. Mohop is another all-vegan brand that makes unique shoes and accessories with iridescent vegan leather. I featured their wallets in my vegan wallets guide.
It can be a little hard to find this style of clog in vegan-friendly materials, but Sanita is a brand that comes through. With a variety of fun colors, textures, and patterns, you’ll be sure to find a pair of Sanitas in a style that suits your personality.
I was wondering if I’d actually find cork clogs when I was doing my research and was delighted when I did! Designed by MB Clogs, these cork clogs have classic styling, down to the wooden soles, but they’re 100% vegan. If you’re interested in other products made with eco-friendly cork, check out my post on vegan handbags, belts, and yoga mats.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Crocs have redefined the footwear industry. I was definitely not a fan of Crocs until I saw my teenage nephew wearing a bright green pair similar the yellow ones pictured above. Feeling like a kid putting on her dad’s shoes, I decided to give them a try. I gave them a whirl around the living room. And, I thought, ‘Ok, these are kinda fun to wear…’ And better yet, they’re vegan.
When I was recovering from surgery to repair cartilage in my hip joint (resulting from years of distance running), my physical therapist recommended Oofos for walking around the house. She said that even on carpet, the more cushioning you can give your joints the better. I’ve been a fan of Oofos ever since and still wear them at home to this day. They’re not the sexiest shoes I’ve ever worn, but they’re definitely the most comfortable.
Oofos’ patented “OOfoam Recovery Technology” absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam, and the footbed is designed to reduce stress on your feet, ankles, knees, and even your lower back. These vegan clogs are also machine washable.
If you’re looking for a great pair of vegan working clogs, check out Yoweshop. They have an anti-slip sole, making them ideal for chefs, doctors, and nurses. Plus, they come with an adjustable back strap and breathable insoles. They’re also lightweight, so comfortable to wear all day. Available in black and white.
I have to admit, I’m a big Jolly’s fan. When I was cooler, in my 20s, I used to wear my green Jollys coupled with this pair of vintage plaid bell bottoms I used to have. Sadly, I don’t know what became of the Jollys or the pants! But it’s great to know my next pair of Jollys is just a few clicks away.
These comfort clogs by Amoji have a ventilated upper that makes them perfect for hot days of walking on a river bed. Plus, they have a non-slip sole. Amojis come in red, turquoise blue, white, black, navy blue, and more.
Siam Tip creates artisanal shoes and boots in Thailand. These comfy clogs, along with all of Siam Tip’s other styles, are 100% vegan. You can see more shoes by Siam Tip in my post about 100% vegan shoe brands.
Okabashi is an eco-friendly footwear brand that makes their vegan slip-on sandals and other shoes with 20% recycled materials. In addition, they have their own recycling program. When you’re done with your Okabashis, you can mail them back to the company and Okabashi will use the materials to make more shoes.
Skechers is named by PETA as one of their top brands for selling vegan footwear. While Skechers does create some styles made with leather, they also offer a good selection of vegan clogs and other shoes that are made with manmade materials. For all my vegan friends, please be sure to read the product details before you buy.
And don’t forget, vegan clogs are always a great option! I’m a huge fan of buying vintage and used clothing, shoes, and accessories. And like other shoes, there’s a great selection of vintage clogs to be had. Check out eBay and Etsy to see more.
Do you still need an excuse to go get yourself a pair of clogs? Let these girls inspire you!
The variety of eco-friendly laptop cases and sleeves you’ll see in this post will make it hard to choose. It’s fun, and very reassuring, to see more product designers developing accessories like laptop sleeves that are made from natural, recycled, and 100% vegan materials.
Some of these laptop cases are made with 100% recycled materials, including PET plastic bottles. And others are made with upcycled materials, such as reclaimed saris, life preservers, and wetsuits. Still others are made from new, sustainable materials, such as like Piñatex “pineapple leather,” a sustainable material developed by entrepreneur Carmen Hijosa, which is made from pineapple fibers. And then there are others made from hemp and real leaves from a Tung Tree.
Too often the materials used in computer sleeves are not Earth- or animal-friendly. For example, materials like leather and traditional neoprene use a number of harmful chemicals in their production that aren’t good for workers or the planet. And it’s draconian in this day and age to be making any kind of accessory out of animal skin when we have so many other beautiful, cruelty-free materials to choose from.
I divided this post into two sections: laptop cases and sleeves made with natural materials and those made with recycled or upcycled materials. You can click the links below to get to each section, but I recommend scrolling through and viewing them all because they’re all so cool!
This handmade laptop case is woven with natural seagrass. It has foam padding inside to protect your computer and a zip closure. It’s also water resistant. This natural laptop case will fit a 13” computer.
By Copala is a sustainable products designer that creates accessories from natural materials, including cork and leaves, as well as upcycled paper. Every product maintains the look of its original material, while being functional and well-made.
This laptop sleeve made from leaves is in a class all its own. The leaves in this case come from the Tung Tree, which is found in southern China, Burma, and Vietnam. The leaves are a sustainable material – when they’re harvested, it doesn’t harm the tree. The juxtaposition of a leaf protecting a sophisticated piece of technology somehow gives me a ray of hope that we can advance as a civilization, while still protecting our natural world – it’s just a matter of our values, integrity, and ingenuity.
To make this laptop case, the leaves are treated with a wax coating, making the sleeve water repellent. This eco-friendly laptop case will fit a 13”-14” laptop.
This 100% cork computer case is sleek and low-profile, with colorful flecks to accent in the natural cork. It measures 14.2″ x 9.8” x 1.2” and will fit 13″-14″ notebook computers, such as a MacBook Pro or Air.
Moana Cork creates handbags, tote bags, and minimalist laptop sleeves out of 100% vegan and sustainable cork. Cork is durable and has natural, built-in cushioning, which makes is an ideal material for protecting your tech accessories. Check out more designs by Moana Cork in their Etsy store.
This cork sleeve measures approximately 15″ x 10.5″.
This au naturel laptop case is super popular with UniGuide visitors! It’s made with organic hemp and wild nettle fibers. Himal Natual Fibres avoids using dyes and harmful chemicals in many of their creations.
This laptop case was handmade in Kathmandu, Nepal by workers in ethical working conditions. It will fit 13″ and 15″ computers.
This all-natural laptop sleeve is made with 100% hemp. It has a zipper closure and you can request an additional side compartment that also has a zipper closure. Available colors include brown, green, and cyan blue-green.
Another eco-friendly laptop sleeve made with natural fibers, this design by Hey Jute is made with jute fabric, hemp, and recycled terry cloth fabric. Visit Hey Jute’s Etsy store to see more of their eco-conscious, natural fiber accessories.
This eco-friendly sleeve will fit a 15-17″ laptop.
One way to solve the plastic pollution crisis is to recycle used PET plastic bottles and create new products with them. We still need to drastically reduce our plastic consumption, but recycling is important too, as we only recycled about 25% of plastics. This eco-friendly laptop case is made with 100% recycled plastic water bottles. It has a padded inner layer to protect your computer, plus an extra zippered pocket for other valuables.
It measures 13″ x 9.3″ and will fit a 13″ MacBook Air or MacBook Pro or a Microsoft Surface Book and other 13″ laptops. Available colors: light gray, dark gray, and pink.
This eco-friendly laptop case is also made with 100% recycled materials. The inside has a divider for your laptop and other important items and it has an elastic closure, making it easy to open and clothes. Available in two sizes: 11″ or 12″. In addition, there are three different color combinations.
Eco Alf makes these Earth-friendly laptop sleeves with 100% recycled nylon. And the lining is made wtih 100% recycled PET plastic bottles. Available colors: blue, black, dark gray, and light gray. A few different sizes are available to fit your specific laptop or tablet.
As their name implies, Loved and Upcycled makes eco-friendly accessories out of a variety of reclaimed materials. This eco-friendly and vegan laptop case is made with upcycled wetsuits and kite surfing sails. It will fit a 13″ laptop.
GreenSmart has an answer to traditional Neoprene, which is not an Earth-friendly material. The production of traditional Neoprene can include phthalates, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (short for VOCs, which are carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate into the atmosphere.) GreenSmart’s “Neogreene” is considered non-toxic because it doesn’t use these harmful chemicals in its production.
The material in GreenSmart’s laptop sleeves are made with water-based adhesives instead chemical-heavy, solvent-based adhesives. And the fuzzy interior liner is made with 100% recycled plastic bottles. GreenSmart offers a few different colors and sizes.
A Bag Recycling and Upcycling repurposes materials, such as used plastic bags and coffee packs, and turns them into one-of-a-kind quilted laptop sleeves and other accessories. The bags are colorful, water-resistant, and durable. The company will do custom orders too, so reach out to them on their Etsy store and get the perfect recycled case for your laptop.
Unbegun reclaims vinyl stall covers from outdoor markets in Amsterdam and turns them into hip laptop cases and other accessories. These colorful cases come in a variety of colors. They’ll fit a 13″ or 15″ MacBook or similarly sized laptop.
It you like the water-resistance and shock absorption of rubber, take a look at this eco-friendly laptop case made with recycled rubber. It will fit a 13″ MacBook Pro. The exterior is 100% recycled rubber.
Upcycling by Milo’s founder, Naveh, was inspired by the craft work of artisans he met while travelling in Indonesia. But he was troubled by the amount of trash he saw and how it was impacting the natural environment. This was the inspiration behind Upcycling by Milo.
In addition to this colorful laptop case made with used candy wrappers (the silver on the case is the inside of the wrappers), the company makes a wide variety of fun, one-of-a-kind accessories. Be sure to visit their Etsy store to see more.
A socially conscious company, Makers Unite helps refugees enter the job market in their new homes. Based in The Netherlands, the company pairs local designers and refugees to create sustainable products. They then direct the money from product sales to help fund social inclusion programs.
Kantha is a quilting technique that originated in Bangladesh and eastern India. Artisans repurpose used saris into beautiful, colorful quilts. So, the materials in this lovely laptop sleeve were twice upcycled: first from saris and then from quilts. Purchasing kantha products helps to support craftspeople living in rural communities.
The Kantha Project’s laptop sleeves are Fair Trade and one-of-a-kind. This sleeve comes in two sizes: 12.6″ x 8.9″ and 11.5″ x 4.3″.
This colorful laptop case is made from upcycled vinyl advertising banners. Afric Eco Designs imports eco-friendly accessories from Africa. Be sure to visit their Etsy store to see more of their colorful creations.
If our faithful four-legged friends could talk, they’d probably say, “Make sure our collars are cruelty-free and gentle on the planet!” For so many of us, our dogs are our first-degree connection to the animal world. Plus, they make us get outside (even when we don’t feel like it.) That’s why I’m a big fan of hemp, recycled, eco-friendly, and vegan dog collars.
At the top of my list are hemp dog collars because in addition to being vegan, hemp is a sustainable material, plus it’s antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. This makes it ideal for dogs with allergies and sensitive skin, or those who love to play in the water.
In addition to hemp, there are dog collars in other eco-friendly materials, like recycled plastic and upcycled bicycle inner tubes. These materials are not only durable, they’re cruelty-free. Here are some of my faves.
Hemp Dog Collars
As mentioned above, hemp dog collars are hard to beat in terms of being sustainable, durable, and comfortable for your pup to wear. Hemp is one of the world’s strongest natural fibers, which means a well-made hemp dog collar will last through many romps, swims, and tugs from your dog’s pals.
In addition, dog collars made from hemp are naturally resistant to mold and mildew. But you can still throw them into the washing machine if need be. The material will soften over time, but it will still maintain its shape and strength.
And if your dog is prone to allergies or skin sensitivity, a hemp collar is a great option because it’s hypoallergenic.
Here’s why hemp is considered such a superstar sustainable material:
It doesn’t require much water to grow, nor does it require pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides because it has a naturally strong resistance to pests.
Because of its hardiness, it’s been used as an ecological way to clean up soil pollution and contamination. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Using a process called phyto-remediation, hemp was used at Chernobyl to harmlessly extract toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater.
Hemp absorbs CO2 as it grows through natural photosynthesis, making it carbon-negative as soon as it starts sprouting.
A super productive plant, hemp produces more fiber per acre than cotton or flax – the fiber used to make linen.
So, if you’re looking for an uber eco-friendly collar for your pup, you can’t go wrong with a hemp collar!
Earthdog creates eco-friendly and vegan dog collars out of sustainable hemp. They offer a wide variety of colors and patterns, in 27 different styles. All of their collars are machine-washable and dryer-safe. And they’re all handmade in the USA
The Good Dog Company’s dog (and cat) collars, leashes, and harnesses, are made with 55% industrial-grade hemp and 45% certified organic cotton. And they’re all handmade in their workshop in Hendersonville, NC, USA.
Katja Gričar of Hemp Chewer creates one-of-a-kind hemp dog collars in her workshop in Kranj, Slovenia. An avid animal, nature, and health enthusiast, Katia made her first hemp dog collar for her dog, Tara. She was seeking out materials that would not harm her pup’s sensitive skin. Luckily for the rest of us, Katia turned her love and care for her dog into creating more special hemp dog collars for the rest of our four-legged friends.
I especially love this one pictured below, which combines two of my most favorite sustainable materials: cork and hemp.
Green Bean Dog also makes a variety of hemp dog collars with a decorative ribbon exterior. Handmade in the USA in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, these cute collars come in a variety of styles and color combos, so you’ll find the perfect one for your pooch.
Mandy Wilson makes eco-friendly dog collars, and leashes, and other accessories in her workshop in Sydney, Australia. These colorful pastel collars are made with an organic hemp base and an organic cotton ribbon that’s dyed with eco-friendly inks. A stainless steel quick release buckle completes the look.
Another great option for your pup is a recycled dog collar. As you’re probably aware, we have a serious plastic pollution problem. There’s too much of it and it doesn’t biodegrade. To date, we’ve produced 9.1 billion tons of plastics. The number is so enormous that it’s nearly impossible to wrap your head around it, other than to say – plastic is everywhere. There’s now even plastic where people don’t generally go, like at the bottom of the ocean. We’re choking on plastic and so are our fellow species who don’t use plastic.
Every four minutes, eight seabirds and 760 marine mammals die from plastic pollution in the ocean – and these are just the ones we know about, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Ocean Crusaders. In fact, the most prevalent form of pollution found in our oceans and on our beaches is plastic bottles and plastic bags.
What do we do with all of this plastic?
First, we need to stop producing and using so much plastic. Second, we need to use natural, sustainable materials and bioplastics, which biodegrade more easily instead of petroleum-based plastic. And third, we need to figure out what to do with all of the plastic we’ve already created!
This is where recycled dog collars come in. Will we save the planet by giving all of our dogs recycled plastic dog collars? Probably not. But will we help make a dent in the plastic pollution problem? Yes.
Right now, according to the EPA, we only recycle about 9-10% of plastics. This is why I’m so bullish on recycled plastic.
But it’s important to keep in mind that even when we recycle plastic into something useful, like a dog collar, we still have to figure out what to do with the recycled dog collar when you’re done using it. How to properly re-purpose, recycle, or dispose of products when we’re done with them is a topic I intend to dive into further on UnGuide.
Because plastic is such a long-lasting material, it tends to create durable products even when it’s recycled. The recycled plastic dog collars here are tough enough to stand up to years of use, including lots of rolls in the grass, ocean swims, and buddy-dog tugging.
Here are some great brands that make recycled dog collars:
Dutch Dog Amsterdam creates eco-friendly dog collars our of recycled PET plastic. The colorful, vibrant designs pay tribute to famous works of art by Van Gogh, Monet, and others. Every style has a matching leash. And they’re machine washable.
Lupine was founded in 1990 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Since they started operations, they’ve donated a portion of their revenue to organizations and causes around the U.S., including their local Humane Society. Their line of eco dog collars are made with recycled plastic bottles. Lupine collars are known to be super durable.
In addition to recycled dog collars, upcycled dog collars can be a great option for your pup. But first…
What’s the difference between a recycled dog collar and an upcycled dog collar?
The difference between the “recycled dog collars” and the “upcycled dog collars” here on UniGuide is that the recycled collars are made from materials, usually PET plastic from water bottles, that go through a process whereby they are altered in a meaningful way (usually through an industrial process) before being converted into materials to make the collars.
While each product maker is unique, most of the recycled dog collars on UniGuide are made from plastic water bottles that are ground down into flakes or tiny pellets, which are then melted down and spun into a fiber that is woven to create the collars. Because it’s a manufacturing process, recycling can be energy intensive, but it’s generally agreed today that it’s environmentally beneficial to recycle plastics.
Upcycled dog collars, on the other hand, are collars that are made from previously used materials that do not undergo such an intensive transformation. Materials such as used fire hoses, fire fighter clothing, and bicycle inner tubes are simply cut down, sized, and sewn into durable dog collars. What makes upcycled products especially cool is that you can often tell what they were in their past life before they reached the next phase in their product evolution.
Sometimes on UniGuide, I apply the term “recycled” to product that are actually “upcycled.” This is because either the product maker uses the term “recycled,” or just because “recycled” is a term that’s used a lot more than “upcycled.”
Here are brands that make super cool upcycled dog collars:
Cycle Dog makes eco-friendly and vegan dog collars with upcycled tired inner tubes. All of their collars are handmade in Portland, Oregon, USA. Their collars come in a wide variety of fun patterns and colors. Used tires are durable enough to stand up to doggy rough housing, swims, and rolling in the grass. And these collars have a bonus feature: The hardware can double up as a bottle opener.
Rekindled Pride re-purposes old fire hoses firefighter turnout gear and creates these heroic dog collars. According to Rekindled Pride, the materials used in their dog collars have been “worn through all types of emergencies and have witnessed lives changed and lives saved.”
Each purchase of one of their unique dog collars generates funds for charitable causes in local communities. All are handmade in the USA.
Flyvines creates colorful dog collars and leashes out of upcycled fly lines. They’re super durable and easy to clean, so perfect for dogs who love to swim and play in the mud. Flylines will custom make your pup’s collar according to your specifications.
All of the products you find on UniGuide are vegan, including the dog collars. While a lot of dog collars are made with leather because people think of it as durable, leather has a lot of problems. Namely, leather is not healthy for people, for animals, or our planet.
Too many animals are killed every year so their skin can be used to make clothing, shoes, and accessories – and that includes pet accessories, such as leather dog collars, leashes, and harnesses. The life of an animal that is exploited for their skin is one of unimaginable and needless suffering. That kind of suffering has no place in our modern world. In addition, the process of turning animal skin into leather – called tanning – utilizes toxic chemicals that are harmful for workers as well as the environment.
So that’s why I say, ‘Ditch the leather collar and get one that’s cruelty-free.’ Your pup deserves to walk and play animal-friendly style.
OK, that’s it for now! Isn’t it time to take your pooch for a walk?
Of the different shoes I present on UniGuide, flip flops are a shoe-in for the highest echelons of vegan and eco-friendly shoes. Today, you can find a variety of really cool vegan flip flops that are also gentle on the planet. There are styles made with recycled plastic, upcycled tires, cork, hemp, and more. Other eco-friendly materials include natural rubber, recycled polyester, and upcycled industrial hoses.
If we could wear them every day, we probably would. Why? Because flip flops feel like sunshine, warm weather, the beach, and relaxation. But if your flip flops are made from materials that are not Earth- or animal-friendly – like plastic, certain types of foam, suede, or leather – it erodes their feel-good vibe.
According to Wikipedia, flip flops transcend cultures, as they’re worn by people all over the world. The earliest record we have of a flip flop-style sandal was the type worn by the ancient Egyptians in 1,5oo B.C. But the modern flip flops that we all know and love today were probably inspired by the Japanese zōri, which American soldiers brought back to the U.S. after World War II.
So, if you’re getting ready for summer, going on vacation somewhere warm, bumming around town, or walking from the shower to your locker at the gym, look no further – you’ve come to the right place to find some cool flip flops that are also easy on the Earth. (And it goes without saying – on UniGuide, any flip flops you see will be vegan.)
It’s estimated that 80% of the debris that pollutes our oceans is plastic. This is why I’m a huge fan of the collaboration between adidas and Parley. Parley for the Oceans is an organization that sets out to intercept waste on the beach and in coastal communities before it reaches the ocean. They recycle this waste into threads that adidas then uses to make not only flips flops and sneakers, but also a new line of yoga and active wear. The sustainable cork foot bed in these sandals makes them even cooler. The adidas Eezay Parley Slide is available in men’s and women’s styles.
Indosole is a certified B Corporation, which means it’s a for-profit company that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab for maintaining rigorous social and environmental standards. Indosole is helping to solve a significant environmental problem by repurposing some of the billions of discarded tires that would otherwise pollute important places, like riverways, other natural habitats, and even cities, into useful footwear. Their socially conscious vegan flip flops are super popular with UniGuide visitors, so be sure to check out a pair for yourself!
SOLÉ takes corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship seriously, which led them to using cork, an all-natural and sustainable material, in their vegan and eco-friendly sandals. Plus, they incorporate other Earth-friendly materials, like hemp and recycled polyester, into their designs. SOLÉ focuses on reducing CO2 by running a business that is carbon negative. They achieve this by planting cork trees, harvesting the bark, recycling wine corks, and purchasing carbon offsets.
Cork is a superstar sustainable material because when cork bark is harvested, it does not harm the tree. In fact, the harvesting process enable the cork tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere. Plus, cork forests are home to over 13,000 species of plants, animals, and insects that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. So, purchasing cork products helps to ensure cork forests are not cut down. Cork is also a perfect material for flip flops because it’s durable and naturally anti-microbial.
These all-natural cork flip flops, by Original Cork Shop, come in a variety of fun colors.
I can’t believe I just discovered this brand! Rider is all about making socially conscious and eco-friendly sandals. Their flip flops are made with 15-30% recycled materials, and 99% of the industrial waste generated from their production is either re-used or recycled. On a monthly basis, the company recycles 960 tons of materials. And when your Rider flop flops wear out, you can send them back to the company and they’ll recycle them into something new, like the flooring for children’s playgrounds. Warning: They have so many cool, vibrant color combinations that it’s going to be hard to choose.
Gumbies Flip Flops have their own unique look. Company founder Michel Maurer is a freedom-loving adventurer who never wanted to be boxed in to a traditional way of living. Gumbies’ design reflects that philosophy. Maurer tinkered with different materials to be used in his sandals, and eventually settled on a sole made with recycled rubber, cut into little squares, and woven together with jute. The company puts an emphasis on using the “most practical, natural, recycled, and planet friendly materials possible.”
Theses eco-friendly flip flops will massage your feet while being gentle on the planet. They’re made with natural and recycled rubber. Plus, Bumpers has a zero waste production process, so all scraps are sent back to their rubber factory to be recycled and made into the next pair of massaging flip flops. If you’re into reflexology, or just super happy feet, these may be your Holy Grail of flip flops. But be warned: they come in so many fun color combos, it’s going to be hard to choose.
Husband and wife team Josh and Heather Carpenter started Landfill Dzine when they saw a lot of useful materials come through the family’s recycling center, which served the agricultural industry. Self-described recycling fanatics, The Carpenters saw style and innovation where others just saw trash. Landfill Dzine makes a variety of products for men, women, and kids – including belts, shoes, and bags – all made from upcycled and recycled materials.
Owned by Deckers, the Sanuk brand has a variety of shoes made that are made with vegan and natural fibers. Deckers carries some non-vegan brands, but they do put out an annual corporate social responsibility report and focus on worker safety along their supply chains.
Founded by podiatrist Dr. Sylvie Shapiro, Planet Flops are made in Brazil from natural Brazilian rubber. Unlike synthetic rubber, natural rubber comes from rubber trees and is an eco-friendly material. The rubber harvesting process involves tapping into the tree to remove the sap from the bark, which does not harm the tree, yet creates an extra reason to keep them alive and thriving.
Made in the USA, Okabashi‘s sandals contain 20% recycled materials. Okabashi has their own recycling program – when you’re done with your flip flops, you can mail them back and Okabashi will use the materials to make more of their products.
Chaco’s textured footbeds have an “Ecotread” sole that is made with a 25% recycled rubber compound. Ecotread’s construction makes these sandals 15% lighter than Chaco’s other styles, while still being durable.
Feelgoodz makes men’s and women’s flip flops with natural rubber. They also use all-natural dyes and non-toxic ink. You’ll find a variety of colors at a great price point. (For you vegans, they do make some styles with leather, so be sure to read the product details!)Price: $19.99 – $24.99
OLLImakes Fair Trade flip flops with natural rubber sourced in Sri Lanka. The company was founded by two sisters, The Olli Sisters, found the chemicals used in traditional flip flops to be unacceptable. So, they set out to make a better flip flop with natural rubber, but soon realized the treatment of workers on many rubber plantations was also not acceptable. The result of their innate sense of decency was to create these socially conscious, Fair Trade flip flops (plus other cool, Fair Trade products.)
Musewear prints whimsical sayings, inspiring quotes, and zodiac signs on their flip flops, which are made from natural Brazilian rubber. With each pair you buy, they donate 15% of the price to nonprofits, such as Best Friends Animal Society and the Nature Conservancy. They also have a recycling program for their flip flops when you’re done wearing them.
San Clemente, California-based Rainbow Sandals has a line of hemp flip flops that have a natural aesthetic. And they get the cool frayed look once they’re worn in a bit. Rainbow Sandals does make some leather versions, so be sure to check the product details. But I salute them for giving to a number of charities, with a special emphasis on education. I can’t argue with that! They offer men’s and women’s styles, and their hemp sandals comes in natural, brown, and black.
Made from hemp, one of the most versatile and sustainable natural materials available today, Nirvana 8′s hemp sandals are imported from Nepal, where they are all handmade by local artisans in the Kathmandu Valley.Price range: $28.79 – $31.50
If you want an even more natural aesthetic with some ethnic fabric flair, these handmade sandals by Siam Tip will do the trick. The footbed is made with woven natural bamboo grass and the soles are natural rubber. The straps are made with vegan-friendly faux leather and upcycled fabric from skirts made by the Hmong tribe of China.
My niece Ellie, an avid climber and budding yogini, texted me from Boulder a couple of weeks ago and asked, “Aunt Kristen, why haven’t you written about eco-friendly yoga mats yet? Yoginis are eco conscious!”
Far be it from me to fail the yoginis and yogis of the world. And truthfully, years ago I sought out an eco-friendly yoga mat and it was a bit hard to find one. Realizing that UniGuide would not be complete without a post on eco yoga mats, I started doing my research. What did I find? Cork yoga mats, recycled yoga mats, jute yoga mats, and more! The world is changing and voilà, here they are!
But first… a rad picture of Ellie in Moab, Utah. (Almost gave her mom a heart attack when she saw this one…)
Cork Yoga Mats
Cork is an ideal material for yoga mats. It’s 100% natural, sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable, and it can be obtained through a tree-friendly harvesting process. Plus, when cork bark is harvested, it enables the tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere.
Cork forests, most of which are found in Portugal and Spain, are home to over 13,000 species of animals, plants, and insects that are not found anywhere else in the world. And many of these species, like the Iberian Lynx, are endangered. So, creating a market for cork products helps to preserve indigenous cork forests.
Cork is also naturally antimicrobial. This quality, along with its natural cushioning, makes it an ideal material for yoga mats.
Repose makes natural, non-toxic cork yoga mats that are free of glues, PVC, and other harmful chemicals. And it gets better: these cork yoga mats are backed with organic natural rubber, another sustainable material. In addition, they’re totally biodegradable.
This top-rated yoga mat is also made with sustainable cork and it has an anti-slip natural rubber backing. It’s slightly thicker than other cork mats, at 6.5 mm, so there’s extra padding, making it great for heavier yogis and yoginis or those who like a bit more cushioning. Plus, it’s extra-long, at 80”.
Super durable, this mat will stand up to many hot yoga sessions.
Yoloha’s Nomad cork yoga mat is thin and lightweight. It’s free of PVC and has a non-slip backing. If you like some color in your cork mat, check out the beautiful collection of designs in their Amazon store.
Do you have a mantra or inspiring prayer that you like to focus on during your yoga practice? The Samadhi Initiative will print customized sayings on your mat. Samadhi’s mats are specifically designed for hot yoga. Like all cork yoga mats, they’re naturally anti-microbial and easy to clean. In addition, they’re 100% recyclable.
Like cork, jute is a natural material that’s both durable and antimicrobial, making it a great material for yoga mats. The jute and hemp yoga mats you see in this post are made with a blend of hemp or jute and a synthetic material called PER, which is more environmentally friendly than PVC.
The production of PER releases little to no harmful emissions when it’s being produced. And, it doesn’t emit other toxins or carcinogens over time when the material is being used. Furthermore, PER doesn’t require phthalate plasticizers to achieve the flexibility required in a yoga mat. And even better, PER can be repeatedly recycled.
Designed in Australia, Ajna’s eco-friendly jute yoga mats are non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals. And for every mat they sell, Anja plants a tree.
Sattva’s eco-friendly yoga mats are non-toxic and free of latex, glues, phthalates, and PVC. Made with all-natural materials, they’re completely biodegradable. To create their eco yoga mats, Sattva weaves organic jute and hemp and bonds it with a 100% natural tree rubber backing.
This yoga mat is non-slip for an ideal grip, even if you’re sweating in hot yoga class. It’s easy to clean too. Elephant, phoenix, and “B Kind” designs available and they’re printed with non-toxic ink that won’t fade over time.
Sattva’s lightweight organic, jute, hemp, and natural tree rubber yoga mat is designed for all types of yoga, but especially long hot yoga sessions. It’s absorbent, non-slip, non-toxic, and antimicrobial. Plus, it’s completely biodegradable.
Like cork, natural rubber is an ideal material for yoga mats, and not to mention – flip flops, as I wrote about in my post about eco-friendly flip flops. Unlike synthetic rubber, natural rubber is harvested from rubber trees.
The rubber harvesting process can be done sustainably and involves tapping into the tree to remove the sap from the bark, which does not harm the tree. Thus, buying products made from natural rubber helps to keep rubber tree forests from being cut down.
Manduka is a well-known yoga accessories brand, so I was happy to see they make eco-friendly yoga mats. These mats are made with biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested natural tree rubber. And they’re 99% latex-free.
Measurements: 71” x 26” x 5 mm and 79” x 26” x 5 mm
For the most radical poses, this natural rubber tree mat has you covered. It’s 100% non-toxic and latex- and PVC-free It has a thin top layer that wicks away sweat, providing a strong grip and a slip-free surface.
Measurements: 72.8” x 26.8” x 4.5 mm and 84.2” x 26.8” x 4.5 mm
Jade Yoga is another known yoga accessories brand. Their natural rubber mats have exceptional grip for safety during even the most intense poses. They’re made in the USA, and through Jade’s partnership with Trees for the Future, they plant a tree for every yoga mat they sell.
A combo yoga mat and towel, this eco-friendly mat combines a non-slip natural rubber backing and a micro-fiber top that’s made with recycled plastic bottles. It’s machine washable, making it perfect for Bikram, the beach, and outdoor adventures. Be sure to check out all of the fun, colorful designs printed with non-fade inks. With every purchase, Yoga Design donates $1 to youth yoga programs.
If you love the ocean, this may be the yoga mat for you. Suga Mats are made with 100% recycled surfing wetsuits. Plus, they’re made in the USA, adhering to strict environmental and labor standards.
These recycled yoga mats have been designed for ideal density, tackiness, elasticity, durability, and liquid permeability. The recycled wetsuit material is composed of a closed-cell foam, so these mats won’t attract dirt, dust, or bacteria from yoga studio floors. They’re also super easy to clean.
In addition to yoga mats, recycled wetsuits also make great laptop sleeves. You can see some in my post on eco-friendly laptop cases.
An eco-conscious company, Suga is a member of 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of gross sales to environmental nonprofits.
If you enjoy looking at colorful, artistic designs during your practice, check out these recycled rubber yoga mats by N.J. East Coasters. They’re handmade in the USA with recycled rubber and cellular vinyl, which is free of BPAs, phthalates, and latex. Plus, they’re extra-cushioned, at 0.25″ thick.
For every eco yoga mat they make, Yogitoes reclaims eight discarded plastic bottles and prevents them from entering landfills or polluting the ocean. These colorful recycled yoga mats are a mat-towel combo and they’re machine washable.
These yoga mats are handmade in Nepal with a hemp-cotton blended fabric. They’re probably not all that different from the yoga mats made hundreds of years ago. They’re totally biodegradable and free of latex or rubber. Hemp is super durable and mold- and bacteria-resistant, making it a superstar sustainable material.
These mats have parallel grid stitching that’s designed to assist you in finding correct alignment during yoga or Pilates.
Your purchase helps to support local artisans and their communities in Nepal.
These GOTs certified organic cotton yoga mats are probably pretty close to what the ancient yogis and yoginis practiced on in India. They’re handwoven in India to this day. With each yoga mat you buy, the importer, Ekaminhale, donates 5% of proceeds to Indian families who are living in poverty.
I wrote this post few years ago. I wasn’t sure if I should share it with the world, but decided that some folks out there may be dealing with a sick loved one and may be able to relate, so I decided to publish it after all. Since I wrote this post, I am eternally grateful to the positive forces in the Universe and for good medical care because my mom’s condition is now stable and her quality of life has much improved since I wrote this post.
Even though I’m a repeat offender when it comes to kicking junk food and then eating it again, I am definitely a believer in the power of healthy food to heal. I’m always striving to eat a healthier diet, though I fall off the wagon a lot. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with the way governments are run today is the diets of politicians. You can tell there’s a lot of heartburn, blood sugar roller coasters, and gas going on.
Oh, to think of the money we’d save on healthcare if people just ate better…
But some habits are hard to change. I think the “die” in “diet” is actually short for “die hard.” I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret Mead, who said, “It’s easier to change a man’s religion than his diet.”
I’ve been running into this issue with my mom. She’s been battling debilitating health and neurological problems as a result of contracting Valley Fever in 2008. Two of the worst aspects of her illness have been that she’s lost much of her vision and her sense of balance. Because of this, she’s a fall risk, and she’s had a couple of nasty falls that landed her in the hospital. Now she is in a wheelchair because we can’t risk her falling down. Being sick for so many years and sitting for such long periods has rendered her incredibly frail and weak.
I know she would benefit from eating super healthy, whole foods and I’ve done my damndest to get a cornucopia of plant-based protein smoothies into her, as well as greens, avocados, sprouts, fresh juices, goji berries, nuts, seeds. etc. etc. God knows I’ve spent a hell of a lot of money at Whole Foods and the farmer’s market. But in many ways, it’s been a fruitless pursuit (no pun intended :o) because she so often ends up taking just a few sips or eating a few bites and then pushing it away. Meanwhile, I have a supercharged, pulsating compost bin.
My mom was never a health food nut to begin with. She’s not necessarily a junk food junkie either; she just eats the typical American diet. Her sister in Michigan believes in the healing properties of See’s Candies and fudge from Mackinac Island. Now in her 90s, my Aunt Joan is in great shape for her age. Yet, the irony of seeing her baby sister so ill has torn her up. But when she sends boxes of sugary love from the Midwest, it does put a smile on my mom’s face.
If you’ve ever tried to get a really sick person to eat healthy food and failed at it, and you continue to witness them wasting away, you can’t help but opt for Plan B – which is getting them to eat something – anything – that has calories in it.
This is why, for my mom, and only for my mom, have I allowed for temporary lapses in my personal values and judgment. In fact, this one was a bloody sacrifice of all that I hold to be true, holy, and correct: On a trip to Salida (the closest sort of big town where she used to live in Buena Vista, Colorado), she asked me to take her to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru.
‘Are you really going to make me do this?’ I asked. ‘This is all you want to eat? McDonald’s?
She sat slumped down in the passenger seat, in her now baggy clothes, with the black eye patch that prevents her from seeing double askew on her face, and she nodded her head in affirmation.
I relented because I realized how unfair it was for me to hold her hostage to my own dietary philosophies just because I can drive and she can’t. If she was still able to drive, she could very well cruise right on through the Mickey D’s Drive-Thru, free of judgment and interrogation.
‘I can’t believe I’m doing this,’ I said. ‘I’m glad no one knows me in Salida. Anyone reading my blog about Earth- and animal-friendly things would think I’m a total hypocrite. What do you want?’
“A Big Mac with fries and a coke, and two hamburgers.”
‘A Big Mac, fries, and two hamburgers? You’re going to eat all that?’
“Hamburgers for the dogs,” she said.
I looked in the backseat at my mom’s Australian shepherd, Daisy, who was standing alert, panting with excitement, clearly knowing exactly where she was and what kind of treat she was about to get. And then I looked at my dog, Roo, leaning back in the car seat, disinterestedly looking out the window. I thought, Her life is about to change.
Trying to wrestle back some parental control from the indulgent grandmother, I said, ‘Well, for God’s sake, don’t give Roo the bun.’
In addition to McDonald’s, my mom hasn’t lost her taste for whiskey. It just goes to show, you can take the Irish out of Ireland, put them on a ship, fast forward to three generations later, and the whiskey DNA still courses through the body as bright and Kelly green as the Irish countryside.
My mom has lost nearly everything. She’s a bookworm who can no longer read and has trouble operating any device that will play an audio book. And she’s an introverted nature lover who can no longer hike through fields of Rocky Mountain wild flowers of her own accord. Depriving her of the last few things that she can still enjoy simply because they’re “not good for her” seems like cruel and unnecessary punishment.
“Valley Fever was bad for my health,” my mom once said. “Whiskey, by comparison, is as bad as drinking a Shirley Temple without the cherry.”
After she had a bad fall, ironically – last fall – it was literally her last fall before having to be in a wheelchair, she went into a skilled nursing facility outside of Denver for a few months for rehabilitation. On one visit, I wheeled her outside to enjoy the sunshine.
‘How was the food today?’ I asked.
“Not too good,” she said. “It’s boring. And it would be nice if they served a glass of wine with dinner every now and then.”
‘Should we break you out of jail and take you to dinner?’ I asked.
“It’s too much trouble,” she said.
‘No, it’s not, Mom,’ I said. ‘What do you want to eat?’
“Pizza,” she said.
I called my older brother, Ted, who lives south of Denver. ‘I’m going to break Mom out of jail. She wants pizza and would also like a glass of wine.’
“I’ll order a couple pizzas,” he said. “What kind of wine does she want? Red or white?”
‘What kind of wine do you want, Mom?’ I asked. ‘Red or white?’
“Bourbon,” she said, without skipping a beat.
‘Got any Maker’s Mark, Ted?’ My brother was laughing over the phone.
I find that my two brothers and I vacillate between trying to get my mom to eat better and do her therapy to all out spoiling her and giving her whatever she wants.
All three of us exhibit similar behavior when it comes to my mom’s wheelchair – that is, we’re in denial that’s she’s in one. Ted sees no need for wheelchair ramps and hauls her in her cumbersome, heavy wheelchair up and down flights of stairs.
Patrick has pushed her through muddy fields in the drizzling rain, with one arm on her shoulder to keep her from popping out of her wheelchair, and the other simultaneously holding an umbrella as he pushes her, so she won’t miss my nieces’ and nephew’s lacrosse games.
And since Patrick ordered her a lightweight, carbon fiber, all-terrain wheelchair, all bets are off. There is not a rocky, rooted dirt trail that will curtail me from pushing her on it.
What’s interesting is, in her illness, my mom has seemed to lose all of her previous anxiety over her own personal safety. I used to live in a motel-style building, where the apartment doors all opened up to the outside. I was on the third floor, and the hallway outside my door was actually a long balcony with a metal railing, overlooking a courtyard three stories down.
I never realized just how slanted the hallway was until I wheeled my mom out my door without putting on the wheelchair brakes. I forgot something in my apartment, and went back to grab it, and my mom rolled backwards across the hallway, with the metal railing the only thing preventing her from falling three stories down. Realizing what I had done, I lunged to grab the wheelchair. I was beyond horrified. But what was most astonishing to me was the placid expression on my mom’s face. There was no fear. She simply didn’t give a crap.
I’ve been in Colorado nearly a month now, tasked with the heart wrenching job of packing up my mom’s things as we transition her to a longer term skilled nursing facility. For a change of scene, I decided to take her on a day trip to Crested Butte, which is 68 miles from her town of Buena Vista.
Closed in winter due to its elevation, County Road 306 takes you over Cottonwood Pass, which rises above 12,000 feet over the Continental Divide. The western side is slow going because it’s a dirt road. Local residents lobbied not to pave the road in an attempt to keep traffic down. It’s rugged, dusty, and beautiful. I can’t remember seeing Colorado so green and full of insects and wildflowers. It seems to have soaked up all the rain that brown, drought-ridden California missed.
It was one of those perfect Rocky Mountain summer days, sunny and about 75-degrees, with sunlight sparkling off of Cottonwood Creek. “Creek” is a misnomer because it’s a powerful river in its own right, which twists and turns alongside the windy mountain road.
I pulled over partway up to let the dogs out for a bit. This time, I couldn’t talk my mom into getting out of the car, so she waited as I walked the dogs down a sandy dirt road along the river. Every 30 feet or so was another rugged mountain man in sunglasses and a baseball cap, some wearing waders in the water, and others standing on the river bank, all fly fishing in quiet meditation.
They made me think of a row of disciplined knights stationed along a watchtower during peaceful times. The vegan in me doesn’t get the allure of fishing, but the woman in me gets the allure of fishermen. Every one of them looked at me as I strolled by, and then slowly turned his eyes back to the river. One of the things I appreciate about the Rockies, which is in stark contrast to San Francisco, is that the men look at you like they ain’t never seen a woman before.
Colorful Crested Butte was surprisingly busy with tourists and it was hard to find a place to park, so I ended up driving a bit outside of town to find a place in the shade under some trees for the dogs.
By now, I’ve gotten pretty good at the routine of pulling my mom’s wheelchair out of the back of my RAV4, wheeling it around, putting on the brakes, and then helping her out of the car seat and into the wheelchair. On a good day, she carries her weight better than other days. But by now, I’ve developed some arm muscles because of all the lifting, even though she’s pretty light from the weight loss.
Undeterred by the bumpy dirt path into town (I tell myself these treks are a good workout), I pushed her from the car to Elk Avenue, one of the main drags in Crested Butte.
‘What are you in the mood for, Mom?’ I asked.
“Coffee and something sweet.”
She had already had two cups of coffee that morning. I started to give her the lecture: Are you sure you want to drink that? You know it’s dehydrating, and your cells need more water right now, and it will mess up your sleep tonight, and you’ve already had two cups… but I stopped myself and wheeled her up to Rumors Coffee shop.
When you take my mom out to eat, even for the smallest snack, you load up on napkins because inevitably there will be a disaster zone of spills and food everywhere. But even though she spills a lot of it, she still loves her coffee. People look at her with curiosity, I’m sure they wonder what she has, but by and large, they go out of their way to assist us, holding open doors and offering to help. Sitting in the shaded porch of the coffee shop on a beautiful Rocky Mountain summer day was sublime. We weren’t there long before my mom announced she was tired and it was time to go.
Driving out of town, there was a little traffic jam of about six cars on Elk Avenue. The car in front of me stopped abruptly as the driver yelled out to a friend walking on the street, “Hey, Mitch!” Mitch walked up to the window and they chatted, as the five cars behind waited. Getting impatient, I drove around the car and the buddy named Mitch, picking up speed to pass them.
A bearded, long haired hippie dude with no shirt on rode up next to me on an old beach cruiser. Evidently having seen my license plate, he said, “Hey California!” He smiled with big white teeth. “Where’s the fire? Chillax a little. You’re in Crested Butte. Slow down and enjoy life!” He laughed and rode away.
On the drive home, we opted to take the fully paved route through Gunnison. All the windows were down and both dogs had their heads out. I put on some of my mom’s favorite tunes – Cat Stevens, The Eagles, and Kris Kristofferson. She turned her head, with the Rocky Mountain wind blowing on her face, and fell asleep.Save
Have you checked out all the options for cool vintage sneakers lately? There’s never been a better selection of used athletic shoes, and from an environmental standpoint, buying preowned vs. fast fashion is a great way to go.
There are a lot of shoes on Planet Earth, and most of them aren’t being walked around in. According to the Shoe Industry blog, we produce about 20 billion pairs of shoes every year, and a staggering 300 million pairs get thrown away. Leather sneakers and shoes can take up to 40 years to decompose and, as they do, unhealthy chemicals are released into the environment. And chemicals like ethylene vinyl acetate that are commonly used in the soles of shoes can take 1,000 years to decompose.
So, it’s good to:
Not throw your old sneakers and shoes into the trash
Because there are so many sneakers and shoes that are already in circulation, you’ve never had better odds of finding the perfect pair to suit your fancy. In fact, I’ve been reading that the used clothing, shoes, and accessories market is going to surpass new goods in the next few years, which makes total sense for our beleaguered planet.
And, if you want to make some extra cash, most of the places where you can buy great vintage sneakers and other used shoes let you sell shoes there too.
To my vegan friends, one note about this post: Many vintage sneakers, like vintage shoes, are not vegan. If you don’t want to wear animal skin, even if it’s in used shoes or accessories, be sure to read the product descriptions or reach out to the sellers directly to verify what the product is made of before you buy.
From an environmental standpoint, it’s good to keep old shoes out of the landfill, so I leave the choice of wearing “used leather” or “never wearing leather” entirely up to you. But because UniGuide is a PETA Approved and 100% vegan site, I will do my best not to include images in this post of sneakers that have leather or suede in them. (If you do see some, it was not my intention. Please message me via my contact page and I’ll remove them. Thanks!)
1. Vintage Nike
Since Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight started Nike in 1964 (at the time, the company was called Blue Ribbon Shoes), countless pairs of Nikes have hit the streets. You can find styles by this iconic brand dating back to the ‘60s and for every decade since.
Side note: If you’re partial to Air Jordans, you can find a bunch on eBay. I just didn’t include any in this post because I couldn’t find any that didn’t have leather in them.
In addition to eBay and Etsy, some great sites have been emerging that have a solid collection of not just vintage sneakers, but other shoes, clothing, and accessories. I’ll include some options for each brand.
How to Recycle Old Nikes and Other Sneakers:
If you have an old pair of Nikes that you want to recycle, or other old shoes, providing they don’t have metal cleats, you can drop them off at any Nike retail store and Nike will recycle them with their Reuse-A-Shoe program, which turns the materials into other products, like running tracks, carpet, and playground padding.
2. Vintage adidas
Another iconic brand, adidas was started even before Nike, back in 1949. It’s pretty hard to find any vintage adidas that are not made with leather, so if you don’t want to wear leather, even if it’s used, I recommend checking out their newer designs from adidas’ collaboration with Parley for the Oceans. While new, these shoes are made with recycled materials – namely recycled ocean plastic. I feature the athletic adidas Parley shoes in my post about shoes made with recycled materials and their sandals in my post about recycled flip flops.
If you think adidas have been around for a while, then you may be surprised that Converse has been here for even longer. Founded in Malden, Massachusetts in 1908, Converse started as a rubber shoe factory, producing winter footwear for men, women, and kids. It wasn’t until 1917 that the company started making shoes for basketball players, and in 1923 they hired basketball player Chuck Taylor to be their spokesperson.
You can find some great used Reebok’s on both Etsy and eBay. But if you’re looking for something a bit newer or 100% vegan, check out their eco-friendly athletic shoes that are made with cotton and Susterra® propanediol – a sustainable, corn-based compound that’s used in polyurethanes and polyester resins. I wrote about Reebok’s corn shoes on UniGuide.
Started in 1948, Puma is another famous brand that has endured over decades. It’s hard to find Pumas that are vegan, but the company deserves some accolades for implementing sustainability practices in their operations and supply chain.
Founded in 1891 in Sweden, Tretorn is oldest brand I feature in this post. Like Converse, Tretorn has its roots in rubber: It started as tire maker. Eventually becoming the footwear of choice by tennis players all over the world, Tretorn definitely deserves the honor of being called an iconic brand.
Founded in the Basque Country in Span, Balenciaga is most known as a high-end luxury fashion house. But they do produce some lovely athletic shoes, of which you can find great used ones if you look around a bit.
Like Balenciaga, Gucci is probably not the first brand you’d think of when someone says “athletic shoes.” But if you like styley sneakers, and some with a little bling, you can find them with Gucci. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find any that don’t have leather in them, so you don’t see them on UniGuide, but if you’re ok with recycling used leather goods, you can find vintage Gucci on these sites:
Saucony is another vintage brand that was founded at the turn of the century, during the Industrial Revolution. The company was started by four businessmen in 1898 near the banks of Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
The quintessential skate shoe, Vans are relative newcomers to the sneaker world, as the company was started in 1966. But like Tretorn and Keds, Vans also have their roots in a rubber company. Two brothers – Paul and Jim Van Doren – and their partners, Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, made shoes in their rubber company facilities and sold them directly to the public.
As the name implies, New Balance started as an orthotics company in 1906, creating arch supports and other accessories to help people’s shoes fit more comfortably. But it wasn’t until the 1930s that New Balance began creating athletic shoes.
In addition to the sources mentioned above to find great vintage sneakers, I wanted to mention the often-overlooked Facebook Marketplace. It can be a source to find great used items, including sneakers and athletic shoes. The other one is Craigslist. Just be cautious of scams and flakes if shopping on Craigslist.
14. Offline: Local Thrifts Stores and Garage Sales
And of course, there is a great big world out there that exists offline! Check Yelp for thrift stores and flea markets in your area, and you can find local garage sales listed on Craigslist. The last time I had a garage sale, I was amazed at how many people I met in my neighborhood. It was really fun and very social. But remember the rule with going to garage sales – you have to get there early to find the best stuff. Have fun!
Today was a big day for me. In addition to being so grateful to still have my wonderful mom in my life, I ran the Coyote Ridge Trail in Tennessee Valley, my favorite trail in Marin County.
It was in this place that I found myself. Needles to say, it has deep spiritual meaning for me. There’s a long, steep incline to get to the top, but once you’re there, the expanse before you of the Pacific Ocean makes you feel like you’re out of your body, flying over the Earth.
I trained for marathons and triathlons here. I realized who I am here. And during periods of depression and heartache, I found emotional strength that I didn’t think I had.
But I had not run here for at least six years.
Injury, a long road to recovery, losing confidence in what my body was capable of, taking time to care for my mom and building UniGuide – all kept me away from this sacred place.
But I’ve been slowly getting back to who I am. And thanks in no small part to getting serious about an anti-inflammatory diet and starting to do regular short runs, I was able to run here today, up to the top of the ridge.
I’m not embarrassed to say, when I got to the top, I got down on my hands and knees and kissed the ground. It was like putting on dirt lipstick, but I cried with gratitude and happiness.
I admit I walked part way down to protect my joints, where before I used to tear down the hill full throttle.
I know our bodies weren’t meant to last forever, but I also know they’re not designed to sit still.
Take care of yourself, and as long as you’re still breathing, no matter your circumstances, give it all you’ve got. :o)
What’s better than a great looking pair of sunglasses? Two words: recycled sunglasses. I was super excited to find so many socially conscious companies making stylish eco-friendly sunglasses out of recycled materials, as well as bioplastic materials like cellulose acetate. When you learn about the inspiration behind some of these sustainable sunglasses brands, plus the way so many give back by supporting charitable causes, I think you’ll feel as psyched as I did when you read about them.
As you’re probably already aware, we’re experiencing a global plastic waste crisis. So, recycling plastic into other useful products helps to keep it out of our oceans and landfills – at least for a bit longer. It turns out that sunglasses are an ideal use for recycled materials, as they require only small pieces. As a result, product designers can create cool sunglasses from small material scraps. Consequently, we’re starting to see some innovative sunglasses made with recycled and upcycled materials. The groundbreaking companies showcased here are making recycled sunglasses out of recycled plastic waste from the ocean, as well as a host of other reclaimed materials, including skateboard decks, aluminum, wood flooring, vinyl records, and more.
We humans buy a lot of sunglasses.
People all over the world wear sunglasses, and let’s admit it – many of us own more than one pair. In 2019, it’s expected that Americans alone will buy over 200 million pairs of sunglasses. (Statista.) When you combine this with the number purchased by people from other countries, you can see there’s a massive market for this accessory. After your cell phone charger, sunscreen, razor, and toothbrush – sunglasses are the most common item that you’ll forget to pack when leaving for vacation. So, what do you do? You buy a new pair.
Thankfully, recycled sunglasses and those made with other eco-friendly materials, like wood, bamboo, and bioplastic, are hitting the beaches and streets around the world. And they can’t get here fastest enough! In addition to recycled sunglasses, if you’d like to see cool shades made from other eco-friendly materials, check out my post on wood frame and bamboo sunglasses.
Blue Planet says their goals are straightforward: “to help protect the planet, change lives, and have fun.” Founded in Santa Barbara, California, the company has been hard at work since 2009 bringing socially responsible and eco-friendly eyewear to people all over the world. They don’t just stick to the basics, either. They strive to satisfy all kinds of customers, with eyewear made from a range of sustainable materials, including recycled plastic, recycled metal, wood, bamboo, and cork.
With every pair of glasses they sell, Blue Planet donates a pair to someone in need via their global sight giving partners. To date, they’ve helped over 400,000 visually impaired people around the world.
Here’s Lisa Lawenda, a VP at Blue Planet, and Matt Weinstein, the company’s brand manager, talking about Blue Planet’s Visualize Change program, which helps restore sight for people around the world.:
Blue Planet offers a variety of lenses as well. They provide standard polarized lenses and lenses with maximum UV protection for extra-sensitive eyes. In addition to their super cool sunglasses, they also make reading glasses.
Unwilling to sit back and let the eight million metric tons of plastic pollution destroy our oceans, the founders of Norton Point have made it their mission to clean up the mess and recycle ocean plastic into high-quality, durable sunglasses. Their sunglasses are all made with recycled ocean plastic and plant-based materials. Based in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Norton Point donates 5% of their net profits to global ocean clean-up, education, and remediation practices.
Here’s a video featuring Shaun Frankson, co-founder of ThePlasticBank, an organization that helps monetize plastic waste by exchanging it for currency to help people in impoverished places. Shaun talks about how Norton Point is repurposing plastic from by ThePlasticBank into their eco-friendly shades.
Norton Point offers a large selection of men’s and women’s sunglasses, all of which come standard with solid stainless steel hinges. Their lenses feature 100% UVA and UVB protection and an anti-reflective coating, so you’ll be ready for the most intensely sunny days.
Solo Eyewear isn’t just a brand; it’s a remarkable project. Solo is devoted to service and giving back: With every pair of sunglasses they sell, they help restore the vision of a person in need, whether it’s an elderly person in an underdeveloped nation thousands of miles away or an impoverished child closer to home.
Solo Eyewear’s sunglasses are made with 100% sustainable materials, including recycled plastic and repurposed bamboo, plus they’re lightweight and durable. Their lenses are UV protected and prescription-friendly. When it comes to selection, Solo offers a variety of shapes and colors. If you want to look great and be a part of something greater, you can’t go wrong with Solo Eyewear.
A pioneer in the sustainable eyewear industry, Boise, Idaho-based Proof Eyewear has been making eco-friendly sunglasses since 2010. In addition to using sustainable materials in their products, Proof donates to charitable organization around the world. Through their Do Good Program, they donate 12% of their annual profits to these causes.
Proof integrates sustainable materials like recycled aluminum, FSC-certified wood, and recycled skateboard decks into their designs. And, they use high-quality lenses. All of their lenses are UVA and UVB protected. If you need prescription lenses, you can easily switch out their standard lenses for your own.
Here’s a video from Proof featuring their aviators with recycled aluminum frames:
Australia-based Ozeano is another innovative eyewear company that’s driven by a true sense of purpose. While traveling abroad, founder Mark Cason was walking on Serendipity Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Mark was shocked by the volume of plastic pollution and other litter that was being washed up on the beach in what would otherwise be a paradise on Earth. He involuntarily started picking up some of the trash, when a local man named Heng joined him.
Though Heng suffered badly from cataracts, an eye disease that causes blindness but which is easily treatable with proper medical care, he still wanted to help. From this meeting, Ozeano was born – an eco-conscious, social enterprise that makes hip sunglasses out of 100% recycled plastic. Ozeano also donates 10% of revenue to the Fred Hollows Foundation, a nonprofit that helps restore vision for people in need.
In addition to being made with 100% recycled materials, Ozeano’s shades have premium UV400 polarized lenses. They also come in a 100% recycled bamboo protective case with a 100% organic cotton pouch. Plus, Ozeano ensures that all shipments are carbon-neutral.
Ozeano offers a special discount for UniGuide visitors: Apply the promo code “UniGuide” at checkout and you’ll get an extra 5% off your purchase price.
Started by marine biologist and surfer Harry Dennis, Waterhaul makes their cool sunglasses from 100% recycled fishing nets, which they intercept from the ocean by literally diving for the nets or getting them from fishermen.
Waterhaul’s recycled sunglasses have polarized lenses and three-barrel hinges, plus they come with a lifetime guarantee. And, if you have want prescription lenses, you can get them upon request. Waterhaul takes things a step further by shipping their sunglasses in recycled wood-pulp packaging. In fact, the company’s entire supply chain is free of single-use plastic.
Here’s a video from Waterhaul that describes their mission and how they make their shades:
Bureo is another eco-conscious company that collects old fishing nets that are polluting the ocean, breaks them down into tiny pellets, and recycles them into a recycled plastic that makes some very cool shades.
Bureo’s founders created a recycling program in Chile dubbed “Net Positiva,” which provides collection points where fishermen and other locals can drop off discarded fishing nets that are polluting the ocean and harming marine life. According to Bureo, fishing nets make up 10% of the plastic pollution in the ocean. The Net Positiva program gets the fishing nets out of the sea, while providing financial incentives to local communities to help with collection.
Bureo also makes other recycled products, like skateboards and Frisbees. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll develop next.
Here’s a video from Bureo about the Net Positiva program:
Dex Shades is another brand that’s recycling used skateboard decks and converting them into high quality shades. Each pair of their eco-friendly skateboard sunglasses is subtly colorful and unique. Plus, they’re comfortable to wear and super lightweight, weighing less than 1 oz. Dex Shades have polarized lenses and spring-fit hinges for laid back comfort. And as if you need more persuading beyond how cool these sunglasses are, Dex Shades plants a tree for every product they sell.
If there’s a luxury brand of skateboard sunglasses, it has to be 7plis. They have a high price point, but these recycled shades have a sleek look that’s all their own. 7plis mixes chic design with a cool, distressed look that conveys the history of the materials. You can imagine some gnarly stunts were done on the skateboards from which these sunglasses originated. The lenses all offer 100% UV protection.
Amoloma is another eco-conscious brand that makes cool shades out of recycled and Earth-friendly materials, including used skateboards. They offer a range of color combinations, including red, green, black, brown, and blue. All of their lenses are polarized for optimal UV protection.
Sk8rings is another designer that creates unique, colorful sunglasses made with upcycled skateboards. Based in Serbia, they also make a range of other recycled items, including rings, guitars, guitar knobs, and more. The lenses on their recycled sunglasses are polarized and offer 100% UV protection.
If you’re a music fan, these cool sunglasses made with upcycled vinyl records are a must-have. San Diego-based Spexwax reclaims unplayable vinyl records and turns them into cutting edge eyewear that epitomizes urban cool. They call their sunglasses “upcycled art for your face.” I wholeheartedly agree.
13. Recycled Records Sunglasses by Vinylize
Base in Budapest, Vinylize also hand makes great looking eyewear from upcycled vinyl records.
Woodzee handcrafts their recycled wood sunglasses from reclaimed oak, madrone, and maple hardwood flooring. Each pair is unique. Their shades are comfortable and lightweight, weighing less than 1.5 oz. And their lenses are polarized with 100% UV400 protection.
For all of you wine lovers (yeah, I’m sure there are a few of you out there :o), check out these truly unique sunglasses make with recycled wine corks. Moon Shades actually uses the byproducts from the wine cork manufacturing process. This means these sunglasses are made with reclaimed, natural sustainable materials. It’s hard to get better than that on the eco-friendly scale! The lenses on these eco-conscious shades are polarized. And, as you can see in the photo, these sunglasses float, plus that have comfortable flexibly arms.
In a world of wayfarers and aviators, there is Zanziba Ri, offering sunglasses that are unlike any I have ever seen before. They incorporate upcycled African fabrics into their unique designs, creating beautiful sunglasses that will undoubtedly have people stopping you in the street and asking, “Where did you get those shades?” Not stopping at beautiful design, the company donates 10% of proceeds to educational programs in Tanzania.
In addition to recycled plastic, today you can find some great styles of sunglasses that are made with cellulose acetate, which is a synthetic compound that is derived from plant cellulose. Cellulose is a readily biodegradable substance by organisms that use cellulose enzymes. So, cellulose acetate, depending on how it’s made and on environmental conditions, is more easily biodegradable than traditional petrol-plastic.
Zeal Optics makes a variety of cool bioplastic shades with cellulose acetate frames.
Dzim Eco Eyewear makes cool sunglasses in a wide variety of styles, from wayfarers to aviators, mirrored lenses, and more, and the bioplastic frames 100% biodegradable and made with renewable materials. They have polarized, impact- and scratch-resistant frames. In addition, Dzim ships their eco sunglasses in a cotton cleaning back and minimalist 70% recycled and recyclable packaging.
Karün is a sustainable eyewear company based in Sweden that makes sunglasses with recycled fishing nets, recycled carbon fiber, recycled denim scraps, and other Earth-friendly materials. The company credits nature as their best “inventor and teacher.” With strong, eco-conscious values, the Karün team is focused on creating “a movement of like-minded people that trust that we can change the way we interact with our planet. We want to prove that it is possible to make the best quality products, but in a completely different way.”
Dick Moby’s sunglasses frames are made with 97% recycled acetate. Based in the Netherlands, the company puts a special emphasis on reducing plastic waste by continually recycling it. They offer a wide variety of frames shapes and colors.
Paper & Paper is a Spanish company whose philosophy is to “move away from fast-fashion to embrace the handmade movement.” They create their one-of-a-kind frames by laser-cutting upcycled paper pieces and then placing them by hand into an acetate base. The process gives their eyeglass frames a cool 3D effect. The company offers frames made from comic books, newspapers, and other types of paper.
Our love affair with denim will probably never end, and lately, I’ve become a little obsessed with vintage denim again. While there are some intriguing eco-friendly denim companies that have come online recently (which hope to write about soon), from an environmental perspective, wearing vintage clothing instead of buying new stuff is always a great way to go. Plus, you can find some really special pieces that you’ll never find on the new clothing rack.
I’ve organized this post by clothing item type. And throughout, I try to highlight some great vintage shops on Etsy. But if you’re partial to styles from a specific era, one of the coolest things I’ve discovered about shopping for vintage denim on eBay and Etsy is that both sites make it easy to search by decade. Below are some links for your convenience.
When I’ve sold things on eBay, what struck me is that brands really sell. People love vintage clothes with a strong brand attached. Sometimes you can find some awesome vintage pieces from an unknown brand, but I know a lot of you are partial to certain brands. So, I thought I’d kick off this post with the most iconic denim brand of all time: Levi’s.
Levi Strauss & Co. was founded in 1853, and they’ve been producing their signature denim jeans since the 1890s. Aside from some used clothing stores near home, my top places to search for vintage Levi’s are eBay and Etsy. But if you want to shop local, check out Yelp to find thrift stores and flea markets in your neck of the woods.
2. Levi’s Dark Wash
If you love the look of dark denim, check out the dark wash selection on eBay.
3. Black Levi’s Jeans
And for those of you who believe black will always be the new black, you need to own at least one pair of black Levi’s jeans. (I’m one of you. :o)
4. Levi’s Bell Bottoms
It wasn’t until writing this post that I had the powerful urge to wear some bell bottom jeans again. Suddenly, I feel like my wardrobe is incomplete. And vintage Levi’s bell bottoms are in the upper echelons of hip.
5. More Cool Denim Bell Bottoms
But there are other cool denim bell bottoms! This pair is so badass, I envy the person who makes them her own.
6. Vintage Wrangler Jeans
Wrangler jeans fit slim on the hips, and with their notable “W” embroidered on the pockets, Wranglers are definitely western wear denim. I always liked Wrangler because when I’d drive through Wyoming and Utah while traveling back and forth from California to visit my family in Colorado, it always seemed like the real cowboys wore Wranglers. While they’re not as easy to find as vintage Levi’s, you can definitely find some great used Wrangler jeans on eBay or Etsy.
7. Tall Cuff, High Waisted Jeans
This looks is super cute, and the subtle crease in these jeans makes them even cooler.
8. Vintage Lee Jeans
Like Levi’s, I salute Lee for creating different cuts of jeans to fit a variety of body types. If you like a higher waist, and the mom jeans look, you’ll be able to find it in vintage Lees.
9. Calvin Klein Vintage Jeans
I sold some stuff for my mom on eBay when she was downsizing and it was her vintage Calvin Klein that got snatched up in no time. A Rocky Mountain Girl at heart, my mom had a ton of really cool western wear, including a sweet Calvin Klein denim jacket and jeans. If you like the sexy, slightly high-waisted look, you can find it in a pair of Calvins.
10. Baggy Jeans
Baggy jeans dominated the 80s, and they’ve never gone out of style. This pair is by Calvin Klein.
11. Bedazzled Jeans
These remind me of childhood. They put joy into my heart.
12. Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans
Another iconic brand from the era of disco and designer jeans, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans are a little harder to come by, but with a bit of searching, you’ll find the perfect pair. Gloria always focused on creating styles to fit different body shapes, and this is one of the reasons women loved her jeans. Etsy is one of the best sources I found for vintage Glorias, but you can also find some on eBay.
13. Vintage Jordache Jeans
Started in 1969, Jordache is another brand that dominated the disco era with its sexy designer jeans. My friends and I would wear our Jordaches so tight that we had to lay down on the bed to zip them up. This was the time before designers started to mercifully add a little spandex to the denim. Both eBay and Etsy have a great selection of vintage Jordache, and if you like a higher waist, this brand will fit the bill.
14. Denim Knickers and Capris
I really like this look! Whether you find some vintage denim knickers or capris, or you make your own, this is a great denim look for spring and summer.
15. High Waisted Jeans
Surf and the City is one of the best shops I found on Etsy for great vintage denim. You’ll find a lot of cute high-waisted style, cutoffs, and more.
Vintage Denim Shorts
16. Denim Shorts
Whether you like to wear ‘em Daisy Duke’s-style short and split up the sides or knee-length like a hillbilly, everyone should own at least one pair of denim shorts.
One of the best parts about vintage cutoffs is that they’re easy to find. Either buy them pre-cut or make your own. Los Angeles, California-based Valley Denim is a great source.
Vintage Denim Jackets
18. Levi’s Vintage Denim Jackets
Whether you’re looking for a light stonewashed Levi’s jacket or a dark wash, you can find some great vintage Levi’s denim jackets on both eBay and Etsy. I like eBay’s search functionality in particular because you can filter by size, which might be the most frustrating part about buying vintage clothing online. Also, the most reputable sellers will accept returns, which is always a plus when you’re buying anything online, especially vintage clothing.
19. Retro Levi’s Sherpa Jackets
20. Wrangler Denim Jackets
Both Etsy and have a great selection of recycled Wrangler denim jackets. If you like the Western look, Wrangler is the brand for you.
21. Dark Wash Wrangler Denim Jackets
Nashville, Tennessee-based Freakshow Rodeo is a vintage shop that specializes in all things cowboy and western wear. In addition to some special denim pieces, you can find cowboy shirts, cowboy boots, belt buckles, Kenny Rogers t-shirts, and the like.
22. Black Denim Jackets
Black denim will always be cool. Even when stonewashed and acid washed dominated the scene, I do believe that black denim was still cooler. Check out the vintage shop Masval Vintage for black denim and other special pieces.
23. Stonewashed Denim Jackets
Shop Exile has a bunch of pre-0wned jeans and jackets, plus some other cute pieces, including vintage rompers, overalls, and more.
24. Denim Wide Lapel Blazers
It’s not easy to find the perfect one, but if you can find a pre-owned denim blazer with a cool cut and a good fit, you’ve got it made.
25. Denim Suit Blazers
26. Carhartt Oversized Denim Jackets
Carhartt has hip hop to thank for a total resurgence in their traditional workwear brand. If you love a big boxy denim jacket, Carhartt is your brand. Carhartt also has some really cool vintage denim vests, carpenter pants, and overalls.
27. Carhartt Hooded Denim Jackets
28. Denim Motorcycle Jackets
Specializing in 70s vintage clothing, Junk Deluxe Retro is a great used clothing shop I found on Etsy. You’ll find a good selection of pre-owned jackets and other vintage items here.
Vintage Denim Shirts
I have to give a ton of credit for my rediscovery of vintage denim to the band Blackberry Smoke. Maybe it’s my Texas and Colorado roots, but at the end of the day, I’m a twangy music gal at heart – loving country, folk, and Southern rock, and this band has it all. They’re just so cool and so sincere, and yep, these boys know how to wear vintage denim.
Check Charlie Starr’s denim shirt in this vid:
Once again, Etsy and eBay are great sources for really cool vintage denim shirts. And occasionally you can find some real gems in your local thrift store.
29. Denim Cowboy Shirts
30. Denim Western Shirts
31. Denim Work Shirts
If you love the 90s, Repeat Fashion Store is the shop for you. They specialize in use 90s apparel and have some cool blue work shirts and other denim threads.
Vintage Denim Vests
32. Denim Vests
Can you wear too much denim? I don’t think so. The perfect addition to your denim jacket and jeans or blue work skirt is a denim vest. But if you don’t want to go three-piece denim, vests look great with skirts and dark colored pants as well.
33. Cropped Denim Vests
Vintage Denim Overalls
I’m not sure if overalls ever went out of style (or if they were ever really in style either), though the 80s band Dexy’s Midnight Runners definitely brought them into the spotlight.
Loose and baggie so you look like you’re wearing a blue potato sack with straps? Never mind! That’s what belts are for!
Here are vintage denim overalls in action in Dexy’s epic “Come on Eileen” video – harkening to the days before YouTube when MTV was all the rage.
34. Vintage Oshkosh Overalls
Oshkosh is to overalls is what Levi’s is to jeans: If aliens came down and asked you what overalls are, you would have to show them a pair of Oshkoshes.
35. Overall Shorts
Vintage Denim Skirts
36. A-Line Denim Skirts
Legend has it that the first denim skirts were made by hippie chicks of the ‘70s who cut open the legs of their bell bottom jeans and added a denim triangle to create a perfect A-line skirt. Whether it’s a vintage denim maxi skirt, a mini, or something knee-length and flowy, you can’t go wrong with a denim skirt.
37. Short Denim Skirts
Vintage Denim Dresses
38. Denim Sundresses
Paperdoll Vintage is a great used clothing shop on Etsy that has a variety of dresses.
39. Long Denim Dresses
I’m partial to halter dresses, so I think I’m going to run now and see if this beauty is still available. See ya’ll in blue! :o)
Offline Vintage Denim
Sometimes the best place to find vintage denim is in your own neighborhood. And supporting local merchants in your own hood or on your travels is always a noble pursuit. So, be sure to check Yelp or Google to find your local Goodwill and thrift stores. Here’s to finding your perfect form of self-expression in denim!
There’s never been a better selection of cool phone cases to protect your most-used piece of technology. And what makes a phone case especially cool? Well, not only does it look good while protecting your phone, it also does its part to lessen its impact on the Earth.
Today, there are laser-engraved bamboo phone cases, cases made from recycled skateboards, and other styles made from sustainable cork, recycled plastic, and even compostable bioplastic. And just because these phone covers are gentle on the Earth doesn’t mean they’re not tough enough to protect your phone. I looked for the best mobile phone cases available based on their combination of innovative Earth-friendly materials, creative and unique designs, and their reputations for being durable enough to protect your phone.
So, whether you’re looking for the perfect wood phone case for your iPhone or a recycled plastic case for your Samsung Galaxy, search no more. But just in case you need a little more convincing, here’s some additional intel on why eco-friendly phone cases are the coolest phone cases you can buy.
Here’s why it’s cool to get a phone case made of sustainable materials:
5 billion is the number of cell phone users around the globe. (Statista)
22 months is the average time people keep their cell phones before getting a new one. (Business Insider)
1 billion mobile phones are bought every year. (The Guardian)
At this rate, if everyone buys a new case when they upgrade their phone, and they throw their old case away, that’s a heck of a lot of phone cases going into the landfill or the ocean year after year. This is why I try to avoid as much petrol-based plastic as possible.
What makes a phone case eco-friendly?
If you’re in the market for a new cell phone case, here are some things to look for. The phone cases in this post all have at least one of these qualifications.
First, it’s made with:
Natural, sustainable, and easily biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, cork, or sustainably-harvested wood
Biodegradable plastic or recycled plastic
Other non-toxic materials (glues, adhesives, lining)
Second, and ideally, it comes with:
And with that, here are the coolest phone cases on the market today:
Evutec produces Earth-friendly cases made from wood and bamboo that is certified as harvested from responsibly managed forests by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) Chain of Custody Standard. These FSC certified cases come in a variety of woods, such as white ash and ebony. They fit a range of cell phones, including the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone. Evutec’s cases are made from a blend of organic materials that are woven together with wood veneer to create a strong case that is resistant to warping from heat and moisture.
You may be wondering how well these sleek wood cases will protect your phone. You can see for yourself in this video:
Carved offers such a wide variety of colors and styles of wood phone cases that you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. I reached out to Carved to find out where they source the wood for their cases and they told us they always look for wood that is responsibly harvested. They also source reclaimed wood from old structures and from locally downed trees after storms. Based in Elkhart, Indiana, the Carved team puts their love of technology and craftsmanship into every case they make.
Here’s a video featuring John Webber, the founder of Carved, and his team at their workshop:
Carved creates so many beautiful, cool wood phone cases that they make it hard to choose. So, I had to include one more design in this post. This wood phone case is hand-carved with real walnut burl. Carved will make your case to order from their woodshop in Elkhart, Indiana.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, The Eco Owl makes some truly unique phone cases. In addition to their laser-cut wood cases, they make natural aromatic cases, which you can see in the Vegan Phone Cases section below.
Otto Cases creates ornate, customized phone cases in bamboo, rose wood, cherry wood, and other woods. There’s a design for everyone, and it’s fun to check out their Etsy shop just to see the variety. Otto Case donates 10% of sales to charities.
Sugar Yeti’s philosophy is that we all need to get closer to nature. And for those times when you can’t be in nature, you should surround yourself with things from nature. This is one of the founding principles of why they make their phone cases from natural materials. Their unique, laser-engraved phone covers are made in Orange County in Southern California. They’re durable, yet have a slim and sleek low profile, so they don’t add a lot of bulk to your phone.
Wdpkr puts a slight spin on the wooden phone case. They cover the wood in a black coating, and then laser-engrave a design that reveal the natural wood underneath. Each piece is unique. Their philosophy: “Be bold and showcase your inner beauty.”
Cutly is another designer that laser engraves artwork onto wooden phone cases. They offer an array of designs and patterns, including geometric, floral, animals, and abstract. Check out their Etsy store to see them all.
Otto Cases donates 10% of the proceeds from their laser-engraved phone cases to charity. In addition to bamboo, they engrave on rose wood, cherry, and walnut. Plus, they’ll do custom order – just send them a photo or other design via their Etsy store.
Then there is Engraver’s Dungeon. Located in Valencia, Spain, husband and wife team Diego and Camelia, create some very cool and truly unique – if a little scary – cell phone covers. I must say, with all the phone case research I’ve done, I have never seen anything quite like this. Engraver’s Dungeon also does custom orders.
So, for all you Goths, Alien, Predator, and Creature from the Black Lagoon fans out there, be sure to visit their Etsy store to see them all. Warning: It’s not for the feint hearted.
Pela Case founder, Jeremy Lang, was raised in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where most the global supply of oil seed flax is grown. Watching many seasons of the flax harvest, he believed there should be some sort of consumer use for the leftover flax straw once the flax oil was harvested. And being someone who cared about the environment, he was aware of the tremendous waste problem that our species needs to address.
He also found it odd that the average person replaces their smart phone every 22 months, yet the conventional plastic phone case used to protect the phone would last for hundreds of years. Making the connection, he developed a biodegradable and compostable material based on leftover flax straw, which he named FlaxsticTM, and the Pela Case was born. In addition to making their bioplastic phone cases, Pela Case gives back by donating at least 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofits through 1% for the Planet.
Here’s a cool video from Pela that shows you just what goes into their sustainable and biodegradable phone cases:
Technically, all of the phone cases on UniGuide are vegan because everything on UniGuide is vegan. And none of these phone cases have leather or other animal products in them. But, aside from the Pela Case above, these next few phone cases are truly “plant based”, so I included them here.
Autumn Grain is another cool phone case designer I found that is creating something truly unique. This eco-friendly phone sleeve is made with a woven grass and it has a vegan cotton lining. Autumn Grain will personalize your case with your name or initials (and that’s a faux leather square on the corner.)
Yes, those are real coffee beans. And yes, this phone case smells like coffee. The Eco Owl takes hand-picked sustainable organic materials and encases them in a polyurethane cover. Check out The Eco Owl’s Etsy store to see more of their unique designs.
And yes, that is real hay, and this phone case smells like hay! Hay from the Austrian Alps, to be specific. Another truly unique design by The Eco Owl, this vegan phone case is made with hand-picked Alpine grass and encased in a water-resistant polyurethane cover.
Reveal was born out of founder Terry Omata’s love of nature and technology. After working in manufacturing in China for a decade, he experienced a crisis in his career, which he talked about in a conversation I had with him, which I shared in a UniGuide blog post. Terry knew there had to be a better way of designing products – one that revealed the beauty of nature, of sustainable materials, and a new way of looking at the world.
Reveal makes a variety of sustainable tech accessories, including wood and bamboo iPhone cases, iPad Mini cases, and a portable solar powered speaker that is accented with bamboo. As a company that is dedicated to stopping the destruction of the Earth’s natural ecosystems, Reveal plants a tree for every product they sell. To date, in conjunction with the nonprofit American Forests, they’ve helped plant over 40 million trees around the world.
If you want a cool phone case that has a cover over your screen and a built-in stand, this design by Reveal will fit the bill. It is also made with bamboo and comes in both a dark wood color and a light wood color.
I Make the Case creates a wide assortment of eco-friendly phone cases in laser-engraved bamboo, and they do custom designs as well. The offer so many designs that you’d be hard pressed not to find one that “speaks” to you.
According to I Make the Case, “Bamboo is revered as ‘eco-friendly’ because it’s fast-growing and can yield 20-times more wood than trees. Bamboo also releases 35% more oxygen into the air than trees of similar size. The Japanese expression wabi-sabi sums up the wonder of bamboo. It means, ‘There’s beauty in imperfection.’ We love that each bamboo skin has its own unique coloration, grain, and flow, and we value the opportunity to be connected to nature with these small treasures. We think it’s the perfect yin, to the high tech iPhone yang!”
Another material that sustainable products company Reveal uses in their phone covers is cork. Cork is a sustainable and renewable natural resource, as cork trees don’t have to be cut down to harvest their bark. Cork forests serve as important habitat for over 13,000 species of animals, plants, and insects, which are not found anywhere else. Like their bamboo phone covers, Reveal’s cork phone cases are ultra-durable and well-made. There are a variety of patterns in Reveal’s “cork leather” cases, from the Japanese wave shown above to hibiscus flowers and styles with a more unfinished, organic look. There’s also a folio style if you like to cover the screen of your phone.
When you lay down to rest your weary head and body, do you do so in a way that’s gentle on the Earth and your skin? Opting for eco-friendly sleepwear, such as organic cotton pajamas, is a simple way that you can lessen the chemical impact on our environment, on insects that support life on our planet, as well as workers and your own skin.
For this post, there’s a big focus on organic cotton pajamas. The reason for this, as I wrote about in my post “Organic Cotton vs. Non-Organic Cotton,” is that the cultivation of commercially grown cotton uses a ton of pesticides and insecticides. Just over 2 percent of the world’s crop land is planted with cotton yet cotton accounts for 24 percent of the insecticides and 11 percent of the pesticides used globally. So, on UniGuide, I always like to promote organically grown cotton.
In addition to organic cotton, you’ll find some natural linen pajamas in this post. Linen is like hemp in a number of ways. It’s been used to make garments for thousands of years and it’s natural, breathable, and naturally antimicrobial. Plus, it gets softer with age.
You’ll see a few PJs made synthetic materials in this post, such as lyocell, or the brand name Tencel. Unlike traditionally-made rayon, including many types of rayon made with bamboo fibers, Tencel is an eco-friendly material. It’s made with sustainably sourced wood that’s processed in a way that recovers chemicals used in the production process. Tencel also used less water and less energy in its production process than even cotton.
With this in mind, I hope your dreams are even sweeter as you snuggle down in some of these eco-friendly pajamas.
Another lovely vintage-inspired pajama set from Madde Nightwear, this onesie was inspired by turn of the century French pajamas. Madde’s sleepwear is made to order, so be sure to request your French onesie to be made with organic cotton.
Gilligan & O’Malley designed this cute ladies’ pajama set in eco-friendly Tencel fabric. Tencel is breathable and soft against your skin. This two-piece pajama set has a long-sleeved, button-down top and cute shorts that have an elastic waist band.
Available colors: almond, light blue, and pink multi
This cute, eco-friendly pajama set is made with organic cotton. It features a comfortable haler neck and matching pajama pants. Intimate Stories is another brand that makes luxurious sleepwear in eco-friendly materials.
If you like a little support when you sleep, this eco-friendly bralette by Sweet Skins is the perfect piece to include in your pajama drawer. It’s made with soft hemp and organic cotton jersey, plus a little Lycra for stretch.
These comfy pajama pants by Body4Real have it all. They’re 100% organic and Fair Trade, plus they’re PETA Approved vegan. Eco-friendly fabric like this is perfect for sensitive skin because it’s soft and hypoallergenic.
These versatile drawstring pants are made with soft hemp and organic cotton jersey. Perfect for sleeping, doing yoga, dancing, lounging, or all of the above, these eco pants are cut loosely and will fit both guys and gals.
These PJ pants are dyed with vegetable-based inks and available in multiple colors.
Another lovely piece by Sandmaiden Sleepwear, this organic cotton nighty features a plunging V-neck and lace detail. It has adjustable crisscross straps and the length hits just above the knee. All of Sandmaiden Sleepwear’s designs are handmade in the USA.
This snuggly bathrobe is made with 100% GOTS certified cotton. Made with soft Turkish terry cloth, the hem hits at your ankles, plus it has a loose hood. It’s perfect for trips back and forth from the hot tub on a winter’s night, or just snuggling up on the couch after a long day or a touch workout.
Available colors: light blue, navy blue, red wine, rose, ivory, and white
This gorgeous kimono-style robe is made with lightweight 100% organic cotton. It features two room front pockets and a belt with belt loops. See more patterns and designs in Susannah Cotton’s Etsy store.
Perfect for camping, sleeping, and cold winter nights, these eco-friendly long johns are made with breathable Tencel blended with 5% Spandex for four-way stretch. Tencel will keep you warm when it’s cold, but it’s also lightweight and breathable and will wick moisture from your skin.
This classic men’s pajama set is made with Earth-friendly unbleached linen. Breathable and naturally anti-microbial, linen is stronger than cotton but softens over time with wear. These men’s pajamas are custom made to order for the perfect fit.
Body4Real’s men’s pajama pants check all of the boxes. They’re PETA Approved vegan, Fair Trade, and 100% organic cotton that’s free of chemicals and dyes. These pajama pants are great for anyone with allergies of sensitive skin.
Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly backpack that you can take hiking or a dressier vegan backpack for work, here are some styles from the best brands that will suite your needs.
There are faux leather backpacks and others made with sustainable natural materials, such as hemp, cork, and jute. Plus, there are as a number of styles made with recycled materials, including recycled plastic bottles. You’ll be sure to find the perfect cruelty-free, eco backpack to fit your needs.
Multiple colors: fire red, dark red, lavender pink, black, sage green, tan, white, and bone
MATT & NAT’s vegan backpacks, handbags, shoes, and other accessories are redefining how the fashion industry views luxury style. Completely cruelty-free from their origins, MATT & NAT also focuses on making their products in the least environmentally harmful way possible.
The name MATT & NAT is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And as the origins of their name implies, MATT & NAT uses natural, plantbased, and recycled materials in their designs whenever possible. Natural materials include cork and natural rubber; and recycled materials include recycled nylon and recycled rubber.
MATT & NAT offers so many lovely faux leather backpacks that it was impossible for me to pick a favorite. So, be sure to visit to their Amazon store to see their collection.
MATT & NAT’s faux leather backpacks are available in a variety of colors, including fire red, dark red, lavender pink, black, sage green, tan, white, and bone.
To see MATT & NAT’s stylish handbags, check out my post on vegan purses.
For over four decades, Patagonia has been producing super high-quality products that are infused with environmental consciousness and low-impact materials. And the company has recently pledged to be completely carbon neutral by the year 2025. Patagonia’s recycled backpacks are made with recycled nylon and recycled polyester.
Here’s a video about Patagonia’s Refugio backpack, one of their most popular daypacks.
Ecogear is another brand that makes great backpacks out of 100% recycled materials. This backpack is perfect for business trips or recreational travel. It has cushioned shoulder straps and a padded compartment for your laptop. It will fit a 15” laptop.
There are also two internal zip pockets and seven outside zippered compartments.
This pack measures 18.5″ long x 13″ wide x 8″ deep.
Another great recycled backpack by Ecogear, this pack is perfect for hiking and other adventures. It has an adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps to get the perfect fit, plus there’s a back venting system for airflow.
This minimalist convertible pack can be worn as a backpack or carried by its sturdy handles. It’s also made with recycled plastic. Each Fjallraven backpack keeps 11 plastic water bottles out of the landfill.